A HIGH-PROFILE candidate for the Alba party has been referred by the Westminster authorities to the Metropolitan police over alleged fraud.

A complaint about Lynne Anderson, a councillor and one of Alex Salmond’s newest recruits has been made to Scotland Yard over allegations regarding employment contract details while employed by an SNP MP.

Ms Anderson, who is standing in Central Scotland for Alba after defecting from the SNP, has denied any allegations of fraud and said she has done nothing wrong. 

The North Lanarkshire councillor was working as an office manager for SNP MP Steven Bonnar until March this year. Days after her departure the Metropolitan police were informed about concerns of alleged fraud.  

READ MORE: Alba technical fault reveals thousands of names who signed up for party events

The Herald on Sunday understands that Mr Bonnar, MP for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill, raised concerns with the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) about alleged discrepancies in employment contracts. 

In her role as office manager Ms Anderson held proxy powers for Mr Bonnar.

It is claimed that changes were made without Mr Bonnar’s knowledge or approval, with the alleged irregularities totalling several thousand pounds. 

HeraldScotland: Pictures Mark Gibson Newsquest Media Group.Pictured Steven Bonnar SNP Councillor.Council workers stage a protest outside North Lanarkshire Headquarters in Mothwell over Austerity Job cuts..

After receiving the concerns, IPSA then referred the matter to the Metropolitan Police, with a specialist team of officers from the force’s Parliamentary Liaison and Investigation Team now investigating. 

It is understood that several SNP employees were questioned by officers in relation to the matter last week, and that it is at an early stage

Ms Anderson told The Herald on Sunday she had no knowledge of the investigation and denied any wrongdoing.

She said: “There’s no fraud. I left Steven Bonnar’s office, I think my final working day was the 10th [of March] after working for a year for Mr Bonnar.

“He is aware of his shortcomings, of which there are many, and the SNP leadership are fully aware of them as well and supported me for a full year during my employment there, as did the head of IPSA. 

“There is no fraud, nothing is being investigated and this is complete fabrication.”

Lynne Anderson at the Alba candidate launch this week

Lynne Anderson at the Alba candidate aunch this week

WHEN The Herald on Sunday put the concerns to Ms Anderson regarding contract amendments, she said: “I amended all staff salaries, that was part of my job. 

“I had permission. I had meeting with Mr Bonnar to discuss various pay rises for the full office. 

“I was proxy for the whole year so if I had wanted to give myself a pay rise at any time without his permission I could have, but I didn’t do that. I had one pay rise in a year, perfectly normal.”

Asked if there had been problems during her employment with Mr Bonnar, Ms Anderson said: “Yes, that’s not because of my behaviour but because of his behaviours.”

Asked what they were, she said “I don’t think that’s appropriate to say”. 

Asked if she had been made aware of these concerns or had been contacted by either IPSA or the Metropolitan police, she said: “I’ve absolutely no idea, nobody has been in touch with me.

“There is no criminality so there is nothing to investigate. 

“Its pretty easy for IPSA or the police to get in touch with me, I’m pretty easy to find. IPSA have my home details, all my contact details. They’re still paying my salary.

“I resigned in front of two members of staff and followed it up with an email. 

“There was no…it was nothing to do with any of this. Nothing at all.” 

A spokesperson for Steven Bonnar MP said: “It would be inappropriate to comment on a matter that is subject to investigation.”

A Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) spokesman said: “The MPS received a referral from Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) on Thursday, 11 March 2021.  The matter is being assessed.” 

READ MORE: Alba Party's online support and what it tells us about Alex Salmond's chances at Holyrood

After leaving the employ of Mr Bonnar on March 10, Ms Anderson began working for Joanna Cherry, the SNP MP for Edinburgh South West.

This was registered with North Lanarkshire council on the register of financial interests on March 25. 

Three days later Ms Anderson defected from the SNP, joining the Alba Party and announcing she would be standing for election to Holyrood on the Central Scotland list.

During her time with the SNP, Ms Anderson was the party’s equalities convener on its ruling body, the National Executive Committee. 

The Herald on Sunday asked Ms Cherry’s office if Ms Anderson would still be permitted to work for the SNP MP given she is now standing for election as a member of a rival party but received no reply.

The Alba party was contacted about the fraud probe into Ms Anderson, but did not respond.

Alex Salmond launches the Alba Party

Alex Salmond launches the Alba Party

It is not the first controversy to hit the party since it launched less than a fortnight ago. 

As we revealed last Sunday, the names of thousands of people who had signed up to party events had been leaked online due to a flaw with the party’s website. 

Alba later claimed there were “dark arts” at play which had led to more than 4000 people’s names being publicly visible by changing a website address, and suggested it was the victim of  a  “potential hack”.

READ MORE: Candidate for Salmond's Alba Party apologises after calling Sturgeon 'a cow'

The incident was referred to the Information Commissioner’s Office, with senior Alba member Kirk Torrance, a former SNP strategist, saying “No personal information beyond the names has been hacked.”

He added: “We will not allow this type of black arts activity to deflect from our entirely positive campaign to gain a supermajority for independence in the Scottish Parliament.”

On Tuesday two Alba candidates – boxer Alex Arthur and economist Dr Jim Walker, made separate apologies after disparaging and offensive comments they had previously made on social media were revealed.

Mr Arthur denied being “in any way racist” after making comments comparing Romanian beggars to “overfed pigs” and making remarks against vaccinations and mask-wearing during the pandemic.

READ MORE: Alex Arthur apologises over anti-vax tweets and posts mocking homeless

Mr Arthur, a Commonwealth gold medallist and 2008 WBO super featherweight world champion in 2008, apologised “for any offence” and said it is his “fault for the wording”, but claimed his comments had been “misinterpreted”.

He also said he is “not in any way a racist” and vowed to work to help tackle homelessness.

He said: “I am a working class boxer who shoots from the hip. I don’t have spin doctors. But I want to clarify some points, and apologise for any offence that could have been avoided if I’d thought more about my words.”

Dr Walker also apologised on Tuesday after calling First Minister Nicola Sturgeon “a cow” on social media. 

The chief economist at Hong Kong-based Aletheia Capital had made the remark after Ms Sturgeon questioned Mr Salmond’s election strategy. 

He later apologised for the Twitter post, and said: “I have removed the tweet which was an inappropriate response to what I saw as mudslinging by the First Minister. To use today’s term, I am pretty mortified.

“I freely apologise to her for the comment and also to my fellow Alba candidates.

“We must follow totally the leadership of Alex Salmond and rise above all negativity as we make the case for our noble cause of independence for our country.”