POLICE Scotland has confirmed SNP MSP and party treasurer Colin Beattie has been arrested as a suspect in the ongoing investigation into party finances.

He is being questioned by Police Scotland detectives.

It comes after Nicola Sturgeon’s husband and former SNP chief executive Peter Murrell was arrested and released without charge at the beginning of April.

Police Scotland have said that a report will be sent to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.

READ MORE: What happens if an MSP is arrested? Do they lose their seat at Holyrood?

A statement from Police Scotland said: "A 71-year-old man has today, Tuesday April 18 2023, been arrested as a suspect in connection with the ongoing investigation into the funding and finances of the Scottish National Party. 

"The man is in custody and is being questioned by Police Scotland detectives. A report will be sent to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. 

"The matter is active for the purposes of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 and the public are therefore advised to exercise caution if discussing it on social media.

"As the investigation is ongoing we are unable to comment further."

In the wake of the arrest, opposition parties have called for First Minister Humza Yousaf to suspend Beattie from the party, alongside former SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and chief executive Peter Murrell.

Scottish Tory chair Craig Hoy said: “The police investigation into the SNP’s murky finances is consuming the party – and Humza Yousaf has to get a grip of the situation, rather than stand by wringing his hands.  

“He must show some leadership and suspend Colin Beattie – along with Peter Murrell and Nicola Sturgeon."

Jackie Baillie, Scottish Labour’s deputy leader, also called for the SNP to suspend Beattie’s membership.

“For too long, a culture of secrecy and cover-up has been allowed to fester at the heart of the SNP," she said.

“While the investigation spreads, the SNP is still refusing to take the basic step of suspending MSPs who are the subject of police inquiries.

“Humza Yousaf’s inaction raises questions – is his priority the cover up to protect the SNP or the people of Scotland?”

READ MORE: Who is Colin Beattie? The SNP treasurer and Midlothian MSP

Alex Cole-Hamilton, the leader of the Scottish LibDems, said the arrest had "torpedoed" a statement from the First Minister scheduled for Tuesday afternoon in which he will set out his priorities in government. 

Beattie, 71, was the SNP national treasurer from 2004 until he was defeated in the 2020 SNP internal elections by Douglas Chapman.

However when Chapman later resigned in May 2021 – stating he "had not received the support or financial information required to carry out the fiduciary duties of national treasurer" – Beattie returned to the position.

As it stands, there is no process in place to recall a sitting MSP. Unless they resign or are jailed for more than one year, they will sit until the next election.