SNP not operating criminally, Humza Yousaf says amid treasurer arrest

The First Minister said SNP treasurer Colin Beattie's arrest is a 'very serious matter indeed'.

Humza Yousaf has insisted the SNP is not operating criminally, following the arrest of the party’s treasurer Colin Beattie.

The First Minister said that while he will not comment on a live police investigation, he admitted it was a “very serious matter indeed”.

The SNP leader said the party has already agreed to a review to improve transparency within the party.

Asked if Beattie has been suspended from the party, he said: “I’ve said already that people are innocent until proven guilty.”

The 71-year-old’s arrest prompted Labour MSP Michael Marra to call on Yousaf to “immediately” remove Beattie from the Scottish Parliament’s public audit committee, calling his position “untenable”.

Yousaf said he would “consider” removing the MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh from both the committee and his role as party treasurer.

“I’ll consider that,” he said. “I’ll have to speak to Colin Beattie. My understanding is he is in the police station being questioned.

“Clearly, when he’s off that I’ll need to have a word with Colin, not about the live police investigation, we can’t speak about that.

“But clearly there are pertinent issues around his role, in the public audit committee, and as national treasurer”.

Yousaf said he was “surprised” Beattie had been arrested.

The First Minister said while the MSP’s arrest was “not helpful” ahead of his first major policy announcement, he said he was “determined to articulate” his “fresh vision” for government on Tuesday afternoon.

“I’m not going to take away from the fact that the timing of this is far from ideal,” he said.

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