Colin Beattie steps down from SNP treasurer role following arrest

- Advertisement -

SNP MSP Colin Beattie will step down as the party’s treasurer after he was arrested in connection with a police investigation into the party’s finances, he has said.

In a statement released through the party, Mr Beattie also confirmed he will be “stepping back” from his role on Holyrood’s Public Audit Committee until the probe has concluded.

First Minister Humza Yousaf said the post will be filled “as soon as possible”.

“I have also informed the SNP chief whip at Holyrood that I will be stepping back from my role on the Public Audit Committee until the police investigation has concluded.

“On a personal level, this decision has not been easy, but it is the right decision to avoid further distraction to the important work being led by Humza Yousaf to improve the SNP’s governance and transparency.

“I will continue to co-operate fully with Police Scotland’s inquiries and it would be inappropriate for me to comment any further on a live case.”

Mr Beattie was arrested on Tuesday before later being released without charge “pending further investigation”.

He also sits on the Scottish Commission for Public Audit – a body which scrutinises watchdog Audit Scotland and, among other responsibilities, is tasked with “appointing a qualified person to audit the accounts of Audit Scotland”.

It is understood a decision on his membership of the body will be made closer to its next meeting.

Mr Yousaf thanked the former treasurer as he announced Mr Beattie’s resignation, saying on Twitter: “I know that his decision to step back from the role of SNP national treasurer will not have been an easy one, but he has done so in the best interest of the party.

“A new treasurer will be appointed as soon as possible.”

Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie said the decision to step aside as treasurer is right, but was taken “by the wrong man” – accusing the SNP leader of “playing for time”.

Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said the treasurer post would be the “least appealing” job in Scottish politics.

It comes hours after Deputy First Minister Shona Robison said it is “frustrating” the controversy around the SNP has overshadowed First Minister Mr Yousaf’s first major parliamentary speech, as she urged the party to get its “house in order”.

Shona Robison visit to Glasgow
Deputy First Minister Shona Robison visited Dear Green in Glasgow on Wednesday (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Mr Yousaf also confirmed delays to the introduction of the National Care Service and the deposit return scheme.

As Police Scotland investigate how more than £600,000 of SNP donations earmarked for independence campaigning was spent, Ms Robison said she hopes the Government can move on to focusing on issues that matter to the public.

During a visit to Dear Green Coffee Roasters in Glasgow on Wednesday, she said: “Of course, it is frustrating that we are not able to talk as much as we would like about the priorities that were set out in the prospectus yesterday, and I think households and people who are struggling with inflation figures today, who are struggling with the cost of things… will want to know what we as a Government are doing.

“Although the public will expect the SNP to get its own house in order, they also expect us as a Government to help their households with the cost-of-living pressures.”

Earlier this month, former party chief executive Peter Murrell was arrested and questioned for more than 11 hours before being released pending further investigation.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme earlier on Wednesday, Ms Robison said decisive action is “absolutely critical” and that, going forward, the governance of the party needs to be “absolutely about transparency, openness”.

She declined to comment on whether former first minister Nicola Sturgeon might be arrested, but said she does not know if the ex-leader has spoken to police.

Defeated SNP leadership candidate Kate Forbes told BBC Radio 4 that claims about the party’s finances had been “mind-blowing” and “decisive and quick action” is needed or the SNP will be in trouble, a sentiment backed by Ms Robison.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “This position must be one of the least appealing vacancies in Scottish political history.

“In a matter of months the SNP have lost their leader, chief executive, their auditors and now their treasurer.

“Continuity candidate Humza Yousaf is being consumed by the chaos wracking his party. Scots who want a government focused on NHS waiting lists, broken down ferries and the sewage being pumped into rivers will be shaking their heads.”

Scottish Conservative chairman Craig Hoy MSP said: “Colin Beattie’s resignation highlights Humza Yousaf’s total lack of leadership in tackling the ever-growing scandal engulfing the SNP.

“As soon as Colin Beattie was arrested, the First Minister should have immediately suspended him as SNP treasurer and a party member, as well asking him to stand aside from the two key Holyrood committees he sits on. Instead he has been allowed to depart on his own terms.

“Humza Yousaf is like a rabbit in the headlights. His failure to remove Colin Beattie from these roles – as well as not suspending Peter Murrell and Nicola Sturgeon – makes a mockery of claims that he has taken decisive action.

“The SNP are in meltdown and consumed by chaos and it is the real priorities of Scotland that are being ignored as a result. Only the Scottish Conservatives are focused on those real priorities like supporting people with the cost of living, fixing the NHS and strengthening the economy.”

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest Stories

- Advertisement -

UK News

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Read the latest free supplements

Read the Town Crier, Le Rocher and a whole host of other subjects like mortgage advice, business, cycling, travel and property.