SNP MSP Colin Beattie will step down as the party’s treasurer after he was arrested in connection with a police investigation into the party’s finances, he has said.
In a statement released through the party, Beattie also confirmed he will be “stepping back” from his role on Holyrood’s Public Audit Committee until the probe has concluded.
He 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.
“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 arrest
Beattie was arrested on Tuesday before being released without charge “pending further investigation”.
He also sits on the Scottish Commission for Public Audit, which scrutinises watchdog Audit Scotland and is tasked with “appointing a qualified person to audit the accounts of Audit Scotland”.
It is understood a decision on his membership will be made closer to its next meeting.
The decision on his role as treasurer comes in the hours after Deputy First Minister Shona Robison said it is “frustrating” the controversy around the SNP has overshadowed the First Minister’s first major parliamentary speech, as she urged the party to get its “house in order”.
Beattie’s arrest came on the same day as the First Minister aimed to set out a “fresh start” as he detailed the Scottish Government’s priorities for the next three years.
As Police Scotland investigate how more than £600,000 of SNP donations earmarked for independence campaigning was spent, Robison said she hopes her government can move on to focusing on issues that matter to the public.
She said: “Although the public will expect the SNP to get its own house in order, they also expect us as a government to help their households with the cost of living pressures.”
Earlier this month, former party chief executive Peter Murrell was arrested and questioned for more than 11 hours before being released pending further investigation.
Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, Robison said going forward the governance of the party needs to be “absolutely about transparency, openness”.
She declined to comment on whether former first minister Nicola Sturgeon might be arrested, but said she did not know if the ex-leader had spoken to police.