Ex-SNP MP accused of embezzlement from independence campaign

Natalie McGarry, the nationalist MP for Glasgow East who was elected for the SNP before having the whip withdrawn, has been charged by the police with fraud offences.

STV News reports that she stands accused of “embezzlement and breaching the Scottish Independence Referendum Act 2013”.

The investigation was triggered when Women for Independence, a separatist group, found than tens of thousands of pounds had gone missing. McGarry was involved with the group and been in charge of their finances.

Also this week, a Number 10 spokesman reiterated Theresa May’s belief that Nicola Sturgeon has no mandate for a second independence referendum.

Plaid attack Welsh Labour for voting with Tories against Single Market

Wales Online reports that the Welsh Nationalists have attacked Labour after they joined the Conservatives to vote against the UK trying to retain membership of the EU Single Market.

Plaid Cymru tabled a motion in favour of Single Market membership, but Labour backed a Tory amendment advocating only “access”, in what Nationalist AM Adam Price described as “the most shocking event since devolution”.

He pointed out that the Welsh Assembly is now the first British institution to officially come out against the Single Market.

The final motion apparently also called for more clarity from Carwyn Jones’ administration on freedom of movement, after the First Minister appeared to drop his support for it.

Also this week, a new poll found that Theresa May’s honeymoon has lifted the fortunes of the Welsh Tories: their vote share was up six points on July and now stands at its highest level in six years.

MLAs mount legal challenge to Brexit

A group of Northern Irish politicians have been given the go-ahead by a Belfast court to seek mount a legal challenge to Brexit, according to the News Letter.

The group believe that, thanks to the peace process and the Good Friday Agreement, the Government must obtain a Parliamentary majority and permission from the Northern Ireland Assembly before proceeding with Brexit.

Representatives for the Government argued that the issues raised would already be covered by pre-existing challenges, but the judge felt a separate Northern Irish case was needed to make sure the Province’s specific issues were addressed.

Scottish Tories reach out to New Labour voters and secure defection…

Ruth Davidson continued to drive her tanks farther onto Labour’s lawns this week, the Scotsman reports, as she made an explicit pitch to ‘New Labour’ voters.

The Scottish Conservative leader said that “moderate, centre-ground voters” had been left feeling disenfranchised after JEremy Corbyn was re-elected to lead Labour.

Her drive to exploit the Opposition’s constitutional vacillations and sweep up unionist voters also scored a win this week, according to the Sunday Herald.

Braden Davy, who stood for Labour against Alex Salmond in Gordon in 2015, defected to the Tories because Labour were “weak on independence”.

…as Dugdale embarrassed as failure to vote spares SNP defeat

The Scottish Labour leader was dubbed the “long ranger” by Nationalist MSPs this week after her failure to cast a vote in a crucial Holyrood division spared the Scottish Government from being defeated.

The Courier reports that Kezia Dugdale insists that she voted, and that the electronic system that records results didn’t register it (not a problem you encounter with old-fashioned division lobbies).

Later this week Scottish Labour challenged SNP MSPs to vote against the First Minister’s plans to increase tactics, presumably as insurance against their own’s leaders faulty voting software.

Elsewhere this week, Dugdale gave an excruciating interview after Corbyn was re-elected as Labour leader (she backed Smith).

James suggests Hamilton is leader of Welsh UKIP

The farcical factionalism gripping UKIP’s Welsh Assembly group took another twist today when Diane James, the new leader, suggested that Neil Hamilton was the leader of the party in Wales.

Hamilton has been leader of the People’s Army’s six-strong Assembly group since he ousted Nathan Gill, an ally of Nigel Farage, in a putsch following May’s elections, causing a rift James put down to the AMs being “a bit excited”.

Earlier this month Gill got one up on him at the UKIP conference, where Hamilton’s speaker slot was handed to his rival, who currently sits as an independent AM and remains the party’s overall Welsh leader.

UKIP faced criticism before the Welsh elections for allowing former Tory MPs like Hamilton and Mark Reckless to decamp to its Assembly list.