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Humza Yousaf Urged To Remove SNP Treasurer Colin Beattie From Key Public Role

3 min read

Humza Yousaf should remove SNP treasurer Colin Beattie from a key public role, it has been claimed.

Michael Marra has written to Yousaf requesting the removal of Beattie from his role as chair of the Scottish Commission for Public Audit.  

The request by the Scottish Labour MSP came after Beattie was taken into custody under questioning in relation to the ongoing Police Scotland investigation into the SNP’s finances. Beattie was later released without charge.

Marra described the SNP treasurer’s role as chair of the commission as “untenable” if there is to be public “confidence in the Scottish government’s administration of public finances”.  

Beattie is the second high-profile member of the SNP to be arrested in connection with the police investigation into the party’s finances, following the arrest of the former chief executive Peter Murrell earlier this month. He was released without charge the same day.  

Marra said in his letter to the first minister: “Press reports this morning that the treasurer of the SNP has been arrested are of significant public concern. I am writing to ask that you immediately remove Colin Beattie MSP as chair of the Scottish Commission for Public Audit.  

“With Mr Beattie currently in custody under questioning, a spokesman for Police Scotland has stated that the arrest was made in connection with the ongoing investigation into the finances of the SNP. I am sure you will agree that it is untenable for Mr Beattie to continue to hold a senior public position for the oversight of public finance as chair of the Scottish Commission for Public Audit. If the public is to have confidence in the Scottish government's administration of public finances, Mr Beattie must be removed from this position immediately until the conclusion of police investigations.  

“This position is, in reality, a government appointment, and as such responsibility for his removal and appointment of a replacement sits with you as First Minister. I urge you to make this change without delay.”  

Former Scottish Labour MSP Hugh Henry said on Twitter: “He’s also the chair of the Scottish Commission for Public Audit, which among other things appoints a qualified person to audit the accounts of Audit Scotland. It might be wise for him to step aside while this is ongoing.”

The first minister was asked if Beattie will be removed from the Public Audit Committee, Yousaf said: "I will consider that. I will have to speak to Colin Beattie, my understanding is that he is still in the police station being questioned.

"When he is off that, I will need to have a word with Colin, not about the live police investigation, we can't speak about the detail of that. But clearly there are peritient issues around his role on the Public Audit Committee and his role as national treasurer." 

This article originally appeared on Holyrood Magazine

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