A FORMER MP from East Renfrewshire who embezzled more than £25,000 has been jailed.

Natalie McGarry, 37, pocketed the cash from pro-independence groups and used it to pay her rent, as well as a holiday to Spain with her husband and other lifestyle spending, Glasgow Sheriff Court was told.

The ex-SNP politician pleaded guilty to two charges of embezzlement when she appeared in the dock on April 24.

Her attempt to withdraw the guilty pleas at a later hearing was refused by Sheriff Paul Crozier.

And, this morning, she was jailed for 18 months when she returned to court to learn her fate.

Allan Macleod, representing McGarry, said she continues to maintain she is innocent of the charges.

He told the court she has had mental health issues over the years, including depression and anxiety, and also suffered from post-partum depression following the birth of her daughter in November 2017.

McGarry, from Clarkston, sobbed in the dock as her lawyer told the court that, just days ago, she suffered a "devastating" miscarriage while six weeks' pregnant.

Mr Macleod said: "She describes her life as almost intolerable. Two weeks ago, she considered that life could not get any worse – and then it did.

"She was pregnant and miscarried. That happened on Sunday and that is something that, for her, has been absolutely devastating.

"She is at the lowest point in her life she has ever been. Her career is ruined, her reputation is in tatters, she has lost friends, colleagues, her reputation and job and now her child."

Mr Macleod said the family's finances are in a "perilous" state and McGarry's main concern is for her daughter, who is 18 months old.

He added that her husband – former Conservative councillor David Meikle – has two jobs, including one at unsociable hours, to support them.

McGarry was elected as a 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 fraud relating to potential missing funds from Women for Independence, which was launched in the run-up to the 2014 Scottish referendum, and the SNP's Glasgow Regional Association.

McGarry, who represented Glasgow East, did not seek re-election in 2017.

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