Natalie McGarry’s sentence is far too long – Kezia Dugdale

Former SNP MP Natalie McGarry has been jailed for 18 months. Picture: John Devlin
Former SNP MP Natalie McGarry has been jailed for 18 months. Picture: John Devlin
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Natalie McGarry, the former MP for Glasgow East has been convicted of stealing over £25,000 and has been sent to jail for 18 months.

Now there’s a reason why judges rather than politicians or regular punters pass sentences. It’s what stops us from reinstating the death penalty or being reactionary rather than fair. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have opinions about what we hear and air them freely.

READ MORE: Former SNP MP Natalie McGarry jailed for 18 months

Personally, I believe an 18-month custodial sentence for Ms McGarry is far too great. Yes she did something illegal and should be punished for it. But she’s lost almost everything as a consequence, it’s impacted on her physical and mental health, her reputation is in tatters and her picture and crimes are detailed in every national newspaper across the land. That’s punishment in and of itself.

When we take a mother away from her family and young baby for any amount of time, let alone 18 months, we’ve got to ask ourselves who we are really punishing?

She could have been given 18 months of a community based sentence, where she had to turn up and work for free from nine till five. She could have been tagged and curfewed, with her liberty restricted in that way.

The judge might have set out to make an example of her – but all we’ve really done as a society is negatively affect an innocent child’s future. Slow hand claps all round.