A FORMER SNP MP from Inverkeithing jailed for embezzling more than £25,000 from pro-independence groups has been refused leave to appeal against her sentence.

But Natalie McGarry, 37, still has permission to appeal against her conviction – despite pleading guilty.

The daughter of long-standing Inverkeithing councillor Alice McGarry, she was sentenced to 18 months behind bars in June after admitting two charges of embezzlement in April but was freed days later pending a potential appeal.

She spent the money on rent, a holiday to Spain with her husband, transfers of money to him and other lifestyle spending.

Her bid to withdraw the guilty pleas a week after she made them at Glasgow Sheriff Court was refused by Sheriff Paul Crozier.

She was granted leave to appeal against her conviction last month, with a procedural hearing set for late September in Edinburgh.

A full hearing will take place at a later stage.

She was refused leave to appeal against her sentence and her bid to have that decision overturned at the second stage of the sifting process for cases was not successful.

A Justiciary Office spokesman said: "Leave to appeal was refused in respect of sentence at the second sift."

A former pupil at St Columba's High School in Dunfermline, McGarry embezzled £21,000 from Women for Independence in her role as treasurer of the organisation between April 2013 and November 2015.

She 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.

McGarry was elected as an SNP member in 2015 but resigned the party whip following the emergence of fraud allegations – which she denied at the time.

She continued in Parliament as an independent representing Glasgow East but did not seek re-election in 2017.