Natalie McGarry (born 7 September 1981) is a Scottish politician who was Member of Parliament (MP) for Glasgow East from 2015 to 2017. She was elected as a Scottish National Party (SNP) candidate in the 2015 Westminster general election but resigned the SNP whip after six months and sat as an independent until the end of the parliamentary session in May 2017.
McGarry in 2014
|Member of Parliament|
for Glasgow East
8 May 2015 – 3 May 2017
|Preceded by||Margaret Curran|
|Succeeded by||David Linden|
7 September 1981
Inverkeithing, Fife, Scotland
|Political party||Scottish National Party|
|Relatives||Tricia Marwick (aunt)|
|Alma mater||University of Aberdeen|
|Known for||Conviction for embezzlement|
|Website||Official website (archived)|
Prior to her election, McGarry was a SNP activist and convener of the party's Glasgow Regional Association. McGarry was a co-founder of the Women for Independence group. In November 2015, following allegations of financial misconduct, McGarry withdrew from the SNP party whip while the matter was investigated. In September 2016, McGarry was charged with a number of fraud offences relating to apparent discrepancies in the finances of the SNP Glasgow Regional Association and Women for Independence. On 24 April 2019 she pleaded guilty to two charges of embezzlement, and was subsequently jailed for eighteen months.
Early life and education
Born and raised in Inverkeithing in Fife, McGarry was educated at St. Columba's R.C. High School, Dunfermline, before studying law at the University of Aberdeen, and worked as a policy adviser for a voluntary sector organisation.
At the SNP's annual conference in 2012, McGarry argued on the anti-NATO side of the NATO debate in the Scottish National Party, stating that opposition "is not merely about nuclear weapons" and calling for the SNP to retain its opposition to NATO membership.
McGarry, a feminist, was among activists who set up Women for Independence in 2012. She told the Glasgow Herald the group was created "over a glass of wine" with former SSP MSP Carolyn Leckie as its main driving force. Explaining the decision, she said: "We came together because a group of us arrived at the conclusion, individually, that women's voices were missing from both sides of the referendum debate."
Already a well-known activist, McGarry's profile in the SNP increased when she was selected as the party's candidate for the 2014 Cowdenbeath by-election. She had previously sought selection as an SNP candidate in the 2014 European Parliament election, but failed. McGarry failed to win the by-election, gaining 5,704 votes (28.4%). A year later, she was selected to contest Glasgow East in the 2015 General Election.
McGarry became the MP for the Glasgow East Constituency on 8 May 2015, taking the seat from former Labour MP Margaret Curran which was part of a historic election result that saw the SNP win 56 out of Scotland's 59 seats at Westminster. McGarry took the mandatory oath of allegiance to the monarch, despite having reservations.
In January 2016, McGarry and author J. K. Rowling were involved in a Twitter spat. McGarry had accused the author of supporting an anonymous Twitter user with "misogynistic views". McGarry later deleted some tweets and Rowling accepted her apology. In March, McGarry became embroiled in another row after she claimed on Twitter that the organisation Scotland in Union was "headed by an internet troll and a outed holocaust denier". The organisation said that this was false and offensive. McGarry deleted her tweet and tweeted an apology. The matter was later settled out of court with McGarry issuing a formal apology and paying around £10,000 in damages.
In February 2016, McGarry was briefly detained for questioning by Turkish security forces for using a mobile phone near a security checkpoint in south-eastern Turkey. She stated she was "recording the sound of bombs" falling on a nearby Kurdish area.
She was not selected as the SNP candidate for her seat at the 2017 Westminster general election.
In September 2015, Women for Independence alerted police after noticing discrepancies in its accounts, prompting an investigation into campaign funds, which was publicly reported for the first time in November 2015. It was alleged that McGarry, in her role as treasurer, transferred money raised during campaign events into her personal account and used cheques made out to the campaign to deposit money into her own account, embezzling a total of £32,991. She denied all wrongdoing. On 24 November, after the allegations surfaced, it was announced that McGarry had resigned the SNP whip and was automatically suspended from the party. She continued to sit as an independent MP.
In September 2016, McGarry gave a voluntary interview with Police Scotland. Following this interview, McGarry was charged with a number of fraud offences, including embezzlement of funds, breach of trust and an offence under the Scottish Independence Referendum Act 2013. It was alleged that between April 2014 and August 2015 she embezzled a total of £4,661 in her role as treasurer of the Scottish National Party's Glasgow Regional Association, and that between February 2014 and June the same year she embezzled £3,891 from funds raised for the Yes Glasgow campaign group. She was initially represented by solicitor Aamer Anwar, but subsequently changed representation.
McGarry appeared in private at Glasgow Sheriff Court on 21 March 2018. On 21 February 2019, she entered a plea of not guilty to three charges of embezzlement and one charge under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 in relation to failing to provide police with a passcode to a mobile phone seized from her.
Her trial began at Glasgow Sheriff Court on 23 April 2019. On 24 April, she pleaded guilty to two charges of embezzlement including £21,000 from Women for Independence and £4,661 from SNP Glasgow regional association. The remaining charges were dropped. She was to be sentenced in May and the Crown intends to recover the money through the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
On 1 May she attempted to withdraw her two guilty pleas, but the sheriff ruled that this was not possible. On 6 June she was jailed for eighteen months. However several days later she was released on bail pending an appeal (due to be heard on 19 December 2019).
In May 2016, McGarry married David Meikle, a Conservative councillor on Glasgow City Council representing the Pollokshields ward. The couple had been together since 2011, and announced their engagement shortly after she was elected as a MP. They live in Shawlands, Glasgow.
McGarry's mother, Alice McGarry, was the SNP parliamentary candidate for Dunfermline East in 1987 and has been a SNP councillor on Fife Council, representing Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay since 1986. Her aunt is Tricia Marwick, former Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament and SNP MSP.
- Publishing, Bloomsbury (19 November 2015). Whitaker's Shorts 2016: Governance. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 9781472921987 – via Google Books.
- "Natalie McGarry: Time for female views to be heard". The Scotsman. 15 May 2013. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
- "Glasgow SNP - Scottish Independence - SNP in Glasgow". Retrieved 6 January 2014.
- Martin, Kate (11 December 2013). "Why is the Scottish independence debate dominated by men?". New Statesman. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
- "MP Natalie McGarry charged over fraud allegations". BBC News. 27 September 2016. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
- "Former SNP MP Natalie McGarry embezzled £25,000 from Yes groups". BBC News. 24 April 2019. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
- "Former SNP MP Natalie McGarry pleads guilty to embezzlement". The Scotsman. 24 April 2019. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
- "Ex-SNP MP Natalie McGarry admits embezzling £25,000". The Guardian. 24 April 2019. Retrieved 25 April 2019.
- "Dani Garavelli: Natalie McGarry leaves a trail of betrayal". The Scotsman.
- "Natalie McGarry: Former SNP MP jailed for embezzlement". BBC News. 6 June 2019. Retrieved 6 June 2019.
- Leask, David (1 June 2015). "Analysis: SNP bucks trend for privately educated MPs". The Herald. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
- Dinwoodie, Robbie (9 December 2013). "Labour goes for experience to rebuild party base in Falkirk". The Herald. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
- "Gordon Brown: independence threatens future of Rosyth dockyard". The Herald. 8 January 2014. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
- 19 SNP Conference 2012 NATO - Natalie McGarry. 19 October 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
- McAngus, Craig. "New SNP Westminster intake: the young, the inexperienced and the untamed activists". The Conversation.
- 30 January, Women for Independence Women for Independence; Pm, 2015 12:21. "A History of Women for Independence: Doing Politics Differently". Women for Independence.
- Allan, Vicky (6 September 2014). "You know what? I've made up my mind. This advert is rubbish". The Herald. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
- Hutcheon, Paul; Gordon, Tom (11 August 2012). "New women's group aims to close gender gap and boost support for Yes campaign". The Herald. p. 4. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
- "Natalie for Europe" (PDF). Retrieved 7 February 2015.
- "Labour wins Cowdenbeath seat in by-election". The Targe. 24 January 2014. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
- "SNP and Tory candidates revealed". Evening Times. 31 January 2015. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
- Gray, Michael (20 May 2015). "New SNP MPs swear oath to the crown in Westminster allegiance ceremony". Common Space. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
- "JK Rowling 'may sue MP' Natalie McGarry over Twitter row". BBC News. 29 January 2016.
- Johnson, Simon (7 March 2016). "Natalie McGarry MP facing legal action over holocaust tweet". Telegraph.co.uk.
- Brooks, Libby (9 May 2016). "Suspended SNP MP pays damages over 'Holocaust denier' Twitter row". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
- Libby Brooks (25 February 2016). "Scottish MP Natalie McGarry detained by Turkish security forces". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
- "Natalie McGarry: Turkey experience was 'terrifying'". BBC News. 27 February 2016. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
- "SNP rules not to endorse two sitting MPs as general election candidates". BBC News. 22 April 2017. Retrieved 22 April 2017.
- "SNP activist: Why I helped expose Natalie McGarry for her crimes".
- Brooks, Libby (23 November 2015). "SNP MP Natalie McGarry linked to missing donations claim". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
- "Former SNP MP denies embezzling £41,500". BBC News. 21 February 2019. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
- Libby Brooks, Glasgow East MP Natalie McGarry charged with embezzlement, The Guardian (27 September 2016).
- "Natalie McGarry withdraws from SNP whip over campaign fund probe". BBC News. 24 November 2015. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
- Natalie McGarry wears wedding dress for House of Commons vote, The Scotsman(10 June 2016).
- Paul Hutcheon, Natalie McGarry MP parts company with solicitor Aamer Anwar, The Herald (19 March 2017).
- "Former SNP MP in court over fraud claims". BBC News. 21 March 2018 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- "Former SNP MP Natalie McGarry cannot withdraw guilty pleas". bbc.co.uk. 1 May 2019. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
- "Prosecutors will retry former MP Natalie McGarry if she wins her appeal". 26 September 2019. Retrieved 12 December 2019.
- Paterson, Stewart (30 May 2016). "MP Natalie McGarry weds Councillor David Meikle". The Herald. Glasgow. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
- O'Neill, Christina (18 May 2015). "Ten famous couples you didn't know were an item". The Herald. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
- "Ken Macintosh elected as presiding officer of Scottish parliament". The Guardian. 12 May 2016.
- "Nat for Europe!". Dunfermline Press. 31 January 2013.
- (now), Andrew Sparrow; (earlier), Claire Phipps (19 April 2017). "General election 2017: MPs vote in favour of 8 June poll by margin of 509 – politics live". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
- Articles authored at Journalisted
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament
for Glasgow East