NATALIE McGarry is a classic example of the danger of family dynasties in politics.

Brought up in Inverkeithing in Fife, her mother Alice has been an SNP councillor since 1986, while her aunt is the former SNP MSP Tricia Marwick.

Ms McGarry appeared set to follow in the family tradition.

She tried and failed to get into the Scottish Parliament at the Cowdenbeath byelection in 2014, but succeeded in reaching Westminster in 2015 by winning the Glasgow East seat.

At the time of both candidate selections, her aunt was Holyrood’s Presiding Officer.

READ MORE: Ex-SNP MP Natalie McGarry jailed for 18 months

The SNP’s vetting process at the time was notoriously fallible, with some would-be parliamentarians getting little more than a quick quiz in a phone call.

As a member of an established political family, her loyalty beyond doubt, Ms McGarry made it through a process which ought to have ensured she was fit for public office.

A senior party source told the Herald: “It’s clear that she only got as far as she did because of her family name. The whole vetting process was shambolic.

“People were getting cleared after 30-minute telephone conversations."

Her work for the SNP and the Yes movement contained the seeds of her downfall.

In 2012, she was one of the founder members of Women for Independence, a cross-party effort to boost support among women. She was appointed treasurer and tasked with financial responsibility for the group.

Ms McGarry was ambitious and put herself at the heart of local SNP politics in Glasgow Southside, the constituency of then deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon.

But by 2015 serious questions were being asked about WFI’s finances. These became so pressing that the police were called in. It was a difficult decision for all involved.

Glasgow Sheriff Court later heard Ms McGarry used her position to embezzle more than £25,600 from pro-independence groups, including WFI and the SNP's Glasgow Regional Association

The money was spent on rent and a holiday to Spain with her husband David Meikle, a Glasgow Tory councillor, among other outgoings.

Damning details included her failure to transfer £750-worth of charitable donations to Perth and Kinross food bank. The cash would have provided food for 30 families.

Ms McGarry admitted the charges in April – and then attempted to withdraw her guilty plea. This was refused by Sheriff Paul Crozier.

Once seen as a rising star of the SNP, she was today sentenced to 18 months and led away in handcuffs.

Her lawyer told the court she was at "the lowest point in her life she has ever been".

WFI say they are pleased the trial is now over, but expressed frustration over the lack of alternatives to prison.

However, it is clear the hurt caused by Ms McGarry’s betrayal will last far longer than her time behind bars.