So much for a Holyrood reset. On the very day that new SNP leader Humza Yousaf is set to make a big speech to parliament, laying out his fresh vision for Scotland, all attention has turned to another SNP arrest.
Colin Beattie, the SNP’s treasurer, has been taken into custody and is being questioned by Police Scotland detectives in connection with the ongoing investigation into the party’s funding and finances.
The 71 year-old’s arrest follows hot on the heels of the arrest of Sturgeon’s own husband Peter Murrell, who had been the SNP’s chief executive while she was leader. Murrell was taken into custody less than a fortnight ago following a police raid of his Glasgow home in connection with the same two-year police probe into the disputed whereabouts of £600,000 donated to the SNP’s campaign fund. He was released without being charged pending further investigations.
Ironically, it was Beattie who, according to the Sunday Times, warned the National Executive Committee just this weekend that the SNP was at risk of bankruptcy due to declining membership and the “huge increases in base costs” with extra money having to be found to pay for the police investigation….
Alas, Yousaf’s reset day feels rather more like groundhog day. As Colin Wright wrote yesterday in Reaction, even some of the leader’s political opponents must be starting to wonder what he has done to deserve such a disastrous start to his reign as First Minister.
The arrest of the SNP’s treasurer is another gift to Scottish Labour. With polls already showing Labour within five points of the SNP, it may well be less a matter of “if” but, rather, “when” the SNP becomes the second party of Scotland.
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