A FORMER MP from Inverkeithing was pursued by a national newspaper along a motorway after leaving her parents' West Fife home.

Natalie McGarry said the behaviour of the staff from The Scottish Sun was "intimidating and reckless" and put her family at risk when they drove at speed on a motorway after setting off from Inverkeithing.

In a complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), she said the behaviour – which happened in May this year – was exacerbated by the fact that her young child was in the car.

The watchdog ruled that there had been a breach of Clause three (Harassment) of the Editors' Code of Practice and ordered the Scottish Sun to carry the ruling in its paper and on its website.

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A complaint had been lodged following the paper's publication of a story which had the headline 'Nat’s nicking about again' which spoke about her being spotted after her release from prison following her conviction for stealing £19,974 while treasurer of Women For Independence.

However, McGarry lodged the complaint about the the conduct of two reporters who worked for the publication.

She said that on May 13, she travelled, via car with her husband and child, from her parents home in Inverkeithing to a property owned by other family members.

During the journey, they were followed by a photographer who pursued them in his car.

Once they had joined the motorway, McGarry became aware of another car and, while travelling on the motorway, the two cars swapped positions with each other to “sandwich” her car. She also said that the cars had left and re-joined the motorway at junctions to reappear in front and behind her car, and that this continued for nearly 40 miles.

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The report from IPSO said McGarry believed the behaviour of the reporter and photographer was intimidating, reckless, endangering and had put her family at risk driving at speed on a motorway.

She said this was exacerbated by the fact that her young child was in the car – which she believed the photographer must have been aware of, as they would have seen the child entering the vehicle.

The Scottish Sun said it did not accept that the reporter and the photographer behaved in the manner alleged by the complainant. It did not accept that their behaviour constituted intimidation, harassment, or persistent pursuit.

The publication said the reporter was not following the complainant’s car, and he did not see the car again until he was driving on the motorway and overtook a car which he realised was McGarry's.

It said the photographer was not in pursuit of the complainant when he saw her car on the motorway; rather, it was a chance sighting, and he did not pursue the complainant after he lost sight of her car at the red light.

The publication confirmed that the photographer had seen the child enter the car, and therefore knew a child was in the complainant’s car.

IPSO noted that the publication had accepted that the reporter and photographer had followed McGarry at various points over the course of the journey and accepted that this pursuit had lasted several miles.

It did not accept the publication’s position that both sightings on the motorway had been “chance sightings”. It further noted that, by the account of one of the photographers, they had followed the complainant’s car to confirm that it was indeed her vehicle – exiting the motorway to confirm that this was the case – and only stopped following her when traffic lights prevented them from continuing.

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IPSO also noted that the pursuit had taken place on a journey to and on a motorway, while the complainant’s child was in the car – a fact which at least one photographer was aware of. It considered that the nature of this pursuit would have been extremely intimidating and harassing for the complainant and her family.

It found that journalists acting on behalf of the publication had pursued the complainant via car in a manner which was persistent, intimidating, and harassing.

Former politician McGarry, who is originally from Inverkeithing, was found guilty of stealing £19,974 while treasurer of Women for Independence.

She embezzled a further £4,661 while treasurer, secretary and convener of the Glasgow Regional Association of the SNP.

McGarry had been the MP for Glasgow East between 2015 and 2017.

She was jailed for two years in June 2022 which was reduced to 20 months on appeal.

A proceeds of crime hearing in September ordered her to pay just £66 back after Fiscal depute Brian Duffy told the court that the figure was “the only amount available to Miss McGarry towards the confiscation order”.