A FORMER MP from Inverkeithing who was jailed for embezzling more than £25,600 is being chased by a Westminster expenses body over an “outstanding debt” she incurred as a politician.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) is taking legal action against Natalie McGarry but declined to say how much she owes on the grounds that the dispute is “live”.

The daughter of long-standing Inverkeithing councillor Alice McGarry was sentenced to 18 months in prison earlier this month after pleading guilty to two charges of embezzlement.

The 37-year-old was then freed on bail pending a potential appeal.

McGarry, a former pupil at St Columba's High School in Dunfermline, was elected as the SNP MP for Glasgow East in 2015.

She embezzled £21,000 from Women for Independence (WFI) in her role as treasurer of the organisation between April 2013 and November 2015.

McGarry also admitted embezzling £4,661.02 in the course of her role as treasurer, secretary and convener of the Glasgow Regional Association of the SNP between April 9, 2014, and August 10, 2015.

She spent the money, some of which should have been transferred to a foodbank, on rent, a holiday to Spain with her husband, transfers of money to him and other lifestyle spending.

But she also has outstanding financial issues with the parliament she left more than two years ago.

IPSA offers MPs short-term loans in the first few months of a parliament, and can provide them with a credit card.

Asked about any sums she was due, IPSA confirmed it holds the information but that it was exempt under “legal professional privilege”.

The body explained: “Litigation privilege is a distinct aspect of legal professional privilege. It is wider than communications between solicitor and client and applies to information created in contemplation of litigation, and to communications when litigation is either pending or being considered.

“In this context, litigation privilege includes communications with third parties and pre-existing documents that have been selected by legal advisors for the purposes of the litigation. The information requested relates to debt recovery and is therefore covered by litigation privilege."

IPSA continued: “Legal issues surrounding Ms McGarry’s outstanding debt owed to IPSA are still live and therefore the appropriate forum for disclosure of information is through any legal proceedings, and if so required by those legal proceedings.

“There is also a clear public interest in protecting the confidentiality of communications and information exchanged between legal advisors and their clients.

“On balance, IPSA considers that the public interest in favour of disclosure is outweighed by the public interest in favour of maintaining the exemption.”