Former MP Natalie McGarry has come under fire in court after sacking her defence counsel just days before she is due to go to trial.

The ex-SNP politician is accused of embezzling more than £40,000, most of it from the Women for Independence group she helped to set up ahead of the 2014 referendum.

She is due to face a six-week trial starting next week but just days ago decided to part company with her advocate John McElroy.

READ MORE:  Ex MP Natalie McGarry denies embezzlement charges

At Glasgow Sheriff Court on Tuesday she sought a four week adjournment in the case to allow her new lawyers time to prepare, but the motion - which was opposed by prosecutors - was refused by Sheriff Paul Crozier.

The sheriff said: “The defence motion is refused, I can’t see why the trial should be adjourned, plenty of time has been given to Ms McGarry and she has chosen to dispense with her counsel.”

As Ms McGarry shook her head in the dock, he added: “Ms McGarry it doesn’t do you any good at all to sit there shaking your head, I made the position very clear on the last occasion.”

The former Glasgow East MP denies three charges of embezzlement and another of failure to disclose “encrypted electronic data”.

She was a prominent Yes campaigner ahead of the 2014 independence referendum.

READ MORE: Former SNP MP Natalie McGarry appears in court over embezzlement charges 

Court papers allege that she embezzled money while she was treasurer of Women for Independence and while acting as treasurer, secretary and convener of the SNP’s Glasgow Regional Association.

She is also accused of transferring fundraising cash into her personal account and failing to transfer charitable donations to the Perth and Kinross food bank and to Positive Prison Positive Futures.

Ms McGarry was elected as an MP in the 2015 general election but resigned the party whip just six months later when the allegations first emerged. She was not re-selected to stand in the 2017 general election.