A FORMER SNP MP has admitted embezzling more than £25,600 from pro-independence organisations.

Natalie McGarry, 37, faced three charges of embezzlement and a charge that she refused to give police the passcode for a mobile phone they had seized.

McGarry, who represented Glasgow East but did not seek re-election in 2017, admitted two of the charges when she appeared at Glasgow Sheriff Court yesterday and the Crown accepted not guilty pleas to the other two.

She embezzled £21,000 from Women for Independence in her role as treasurer of the organisation.

She transferred money raised through fundraising events into her personal bank accounts and failed to transfer charitable donations to Perth and Kinross food bank and to Positive Prison, Positive Future between April 26, 2013 and November 30, 2015.

She also used cheques drawn on the Women for Independence bank account to deposit money into her own account.

McGarry also admitted embezzling £4661.02 in the course of her role as treasurer, secretary and convener of the Glasgow Regional Association of the SNP between April 9, 2014 and August 10, 2015.

She was elected as an SNP member in 2015 but resigned the party whip following the emergence of fraud allegations – which she denied at the time – continuing in Parliament as an independent.

She was charged by police in 2017 over alleged fraud relating to potential missing funds from Women for Independence, which was set up in the run-up to the 2014 Scottish referendum, and the SNP’s Glasgow Regional Association.

McGarry represented herself when she appeared at court yesterday.

The case was adjourned until May 1.

Born and brought up in Inverkeithing, Fife, Natalie McGarry studied law at Aberdeen University before working in HR, as a community officer for unemployed parents and as a policy adviser in the voluntary sector.

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She rose to prominence politically after helping set up Women for Independence in 2012, an organisation which aimed to represent women’s voices and interests in the campaign for Scottish independence.

She contested the 2014 Cowdenbeath Holyrood by-election for the SNP, held following the death of sitting Labour MSP Helen Eadie.

McGarry lost out to Alex Rowley, who held the seat for Labour with a majority of 5,488.

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The following year she was elected as an SNP MP representing Glasgow East, and she was appointed the party’s Westminster spokeswoman for disabilities, a post she held for seven months.

She caused a stir in the House of Commons by voting in her wedding dress, having just had her marriage to Glasgow Conservative councillor David Meikle blessed in the Parliament’s St Mary Undercroft chapel.