Colin Beattie: SNP treasurer steps back from role amid ongoing police investigation into party finances

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Colin Beattie was arrested and released without charge pending further investigation as police continue to probe the finances of the SNP

The SNP's Colin Beattie has stepped back from his role as party treasurer as the police probe into party finances continue.

Beattie, 71, was arrested yesterday (18 April) and later released without charge pending further investigation as officers continue to investigate the use of around £600,000 worth of funds which were to be used for a second referendum campaign. Former SNP chief executive, and Nicola Sturgeon's husband, Peter Murrell was also arrested and released without charge.

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In a statement, Beattie said: “This afternoon I informed the party leader that I will be stepping back from my role as SNP national treasurer with immediate effect. 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 cooperate fully with Police Scotland’s inquiries and it would be inappropriate for me to comment any further on a live case.”

Colin Beattie has stepped down as the SNP's treasurer following his arrest and subsequent release as police continue to investigate party finances. (Credit: PA)Colin Beattie has stepped down as the SNP's treasurer following his arrest and subsequent release as police continue to investigate party finances. (Credit: PA)
Colin Beattie has stepped down as the SNP's treasurer following his arrest and subsequent release as police continue to investigate party finances. (Credit: PA) | PA

He will also step back from his role on Holyrood's Public Audit Committee until the police investigation has concluded. Despite the treasurer normally being voted for by members, First Minister Humza Yousaf will take up responsibility for finances in the short-term, with the party leader saying: “We’ll appoint a treasurer in the coming days, but of course, as party leader, I’ll make sure I’m overseeing the finances of the party. But we’ll appoint a new national treasurer as soon as we can."

In a statement thanks Beattie for his work as treasurer, a role he held from 2004 until 2020 and again from 2021, the First Minister said: “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.”

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