Former Glasgow East SNP MP, Natalie McGarry, is set to appeal the jail sentence handed to her last week for embezzling tens of thousands of pounds from a pro-independence group.

McGarry was sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing £25,000 from Women for Independence of which she was a founding member.

It is understood her legal representatives have notified the court of her intention to appeal the sentence.

It is expected to focus on the judge’s refusal to allow her to change her guilty plea.

McGarry admitted two charges of fraud last month but a later attempt to change her plea to not guilty was dismissed by Sheriff Paul Crozier.

The appeal comes as it has emerged that a future cabinet secretary personally reported McGarry to the police over the theft which led to her being jailed.

At the time, in late 2015, Jeane Freeman was acting in her capacity as leader of the Women for Independence group (WFI).

A key member of WFI yesterday gave the first public account of how it realised Ms McGarry had betrayed its trust by embezzling tens of thousands of pounds in donations.

Kathleen Caskie told the Herald on Sunday that Ms McGarry, the group’s treasurer, had fought plans to make WFI a limited company which could have exposed her crime.

“In retrospect, you realise that’s because of the formality of having to do annual audited accounts and putting them in the public domain,” she said. “That was an alarm bell.”

At first, WFI thought Ms McGarry was merely overwhelmed by the paperwork associated with the group’s successful fundraising, but doubts crept in when their “much loved WFI sister” refused to hand over control of a PayPal account.

It would later emerge in court that she moved money from it to her own bank account.

Ms McGarry, 37, also repeatedly evaded questions about the group’s funds, and blocked and unfriended former colleagues on social media, fuelling suspicions among other senior figures in WFI , including Ms Freeman and former SSP MSP Caroline Leckie, that she was to blame for missing monies.

Ms McGarry, spent some of the stolen funds on rent and a holiday to Spain.