WESTMINSTER’s expenses body is taking legal action against a jailed former SNP MP over an “outstanding debt” she incurred as a politician.

However, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) declined to say how much Natalie McGarry owes on the grounds that the dispute is “live”.

McGarry, 37, was elected as the Nationalist MP for Glasgow East in 2015, but within months she faced allegations of financial impropriety.

READ MORE: Ex-SNP MP Natalie McGarry jailed for embezzling from pro-independence organisations

She had previously been treasurer of the Women for Independence (WFI) campaign group and senior figures were worried about tens of thousands of pounds going missing.

McGarry was charged and later pled guilty to embezzling over £25,000 from WFI and the SNP regional association in Glasgow.

Some of the money should have been transferred to a food bank and she also used part of the cash for rent and a holiday in the sun.

After failing to retract her guilty plea, she was jailed for eighteen months, but released within days on interim liberation pending a potential appeal.

It can now be revealed that McGarry has outstanding financial issues with the parliament she left over two years ago.

IPSA offers MPs short term loans in the first few months of a Parliament, and can provide providing parliamentarians with a credit card.

In relation to McGarry, the Herald on Sunday asked IPSA about any outstanding sums in relation to loans or credit cards and their value.

IPSA confirmed it holds the information, but added that it was exempt under “legal professional privilege”.

READ MORE: Ex-SNP MP Natalie McGarry released from prison pending appeal

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.”

It concluded: “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.”

It was reported in 2016 that McGarry, at that point an independent MP, was one of a number of politicians whose Commons credit cards had been blocked.

She had £2,370 outstanding as of February 23rd of that year. Her office blamed a "mix up" and claimed the situation had been "rectified".

This newspaper revealed last week that McGarry’s debt problems stretched back fifteen years.

READ MORE: Jailing Natalie McGarry is wrong when her child is so young

A legal document from 2004 showed that First National Consumer Finance Ltd - a firm providing credit - applied for an inhibition against McGarry over a £5,879 debt.

Under Scots law, an inhibition blocks a debtor from selling any assets before the money owed is repaid.