Leading today’s news agenda in Scotland is the unraveling tale of financial mismanagement at the pro-independence campaign Women For Independence (WFI).
The initial first grumblings of trouble were unearthed by the Daily Record’s David Clegg. Since then Clegg has uncovered that Natalie McGarry MP is at the centre of the story. Around £30,000 of donations, all raised from ordinary pro-independence individuals, is currently unaccounted for.
It is alleged that Ms.McGarry was responsible for WFI’s PayPal account, the main source of ‘crowdfunded’ payments to the group.
Out of the 23 members of the Woman For Independence national committee 20 signed a statement which includes the following:
“But what we can say is that following our first AGM in March and the adoption of our constitution and robust and appropriate systems, concerns emerged in late summer regarding financial probity. For several weeks now we have been examining the finances of the organisation for the last financial year, 2014/2015.
“We have identified an apparent discrepancy between our donation income and the expenditure which we currently have evidence of. We have exhausted all opportunities of obtaining adequate evidence or explanation to account for this discrepancy.
“Women for Independence has been, and is, supported by thousands of women and men who have donated to our work. We know that every one of them will share our profound disappointment that this situation has arisen.”
The three that did not sign was Natalie McGarry herself and two others who could not be contacted before the time of WFI’s publication. Of the 20, 7 are SNP candidates in the coming Scottish Parliament elections.
Calls for McGarry to be suspended are growing louder.
The story itselfwill raise many headaches for SNP HQ but so too will the fact that SNP candidates were prepared to politically throw one of their existing MPs under a bus for the sake of an external organisation. Indeed even more worrying for the SNP leadership is how a leading member of a rival party, the Green’s Zara Kitson, could have a part to play in the potential downfall of one of their most well known MPs.
If you are wondering why the SNP attempted to centralise and control Yes Scotland then look no further than this £30,000 mess and Business for Scotland’s, now former SNP MP after the party whip was withdrawn, Michelle Thompson ongoing saga.
The full list is below:
Ashten Regan-Denham (SNP Edinburgh Eastern and Lothians list candidate)
Carolyn Leckie ( Scottish Socialist Pary MSP 2003 – 2007)
Gillian Martin ( SNP Aberdeen East candidate)
Jeane Freeman (SNP Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley candidate)
Julie Bell ( SNP Kirriemuir and Dean branch, WFI Angus)
Maggie Lennon (SNP Glasgow SNP list canddiate)
Maggie Mellon (British Association of Social Workers Vice-Chair)
Mairi Tulbure (2014/2015 Avondale SNP Convener)
Marsha Scott (Chief Exec of Scottish Women’s Aid)
Michelle Rodger (SNP West of Scotland list candidate)
Rosemary Hunter (SNP Mid Scotland and Fife list canddiate)
Suzanne McLaughlin ( SNP Glasgow list candidate)
Zara Kitson (Green co-convenor candidate)