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Scottish nationalists 'tearing apart' amid another arrest

A police officer stands on duty outside the home of Peter Murrell, former chief executive of the Scottish National Party, 6 April, 2023.
A police officer stands on duty outside the home of Peter Murrell, former chief executive of the Scottish National Party, 6 April, 2023. Copyright ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP or licensors
Copyright ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP or licensors
By Joshua Askew
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Police in Scotland arrested the SNP treasurer on Tuesday in connection with a long-running probe into party finances.

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Police in Scotland have arrested the treasurer of the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) amid a long-running investigation into the party's finances. 

Colin Beattie, a 71-year-old former banker, was taken into custody by detectives this morning for questioning. 

This development is the latest blow to a party that has been engulfed in chaos in recent weeks, following the resignation of its chief executive Peter Murrell, husband of former SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon.

In a statement, Scottish Police said: "A 71-year-old man has today, Tuesday, 18 April 2023, been arrested as a suspect in connection with the ongoing investigation into the funding and finances of the Scottish National Party."

"The matter is active for the purposes of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 and the public are therefore advised to exercise caution if discussing it on social media."

"As the investigation is ongoing we are unable to comment further."

Beattie, a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, served as SNP treasurer for more than two decades. 

He took early retirement from the financial industry in the mid-2000s to focus on politics, getting elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2011. 

The SNP is currently gripped by a years-long scandal over its finances after a series of complaints were made in 2021 surrounding its fundraising for the independence campaign. 

In April, the Glasgow home of former Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon was searched for two days by detectives, alongside the party's head office in Edinburgh. 

She herself threw in the towel the month before.  

Her husband Murrell was released without charge. 

In a statement written before today's arrest, the Scottish Conservative deputy leader Meghan Gallacher said "ever more shocking stories" were emerging about "how the SNP was run by Nicola Sturgeon and Peter Murrell."

Addressing the new first minister, she said: “Humza Yousaf has the chance to break free from years of SNP failure, if he is bold enough to do so", adding he was "distracted" by the "civil war tearing his party apart".

Sturgeon unexpectedly resigned as first minister in February, describing the "brutality" of being a politician.

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