An SNP MP convicted of sexual harassment underwent ‘driver training’ four years ago for the same incident and retained his post as chief whip.
The allegations against Patrick Grady were first dealt with informally by the SNP and he later led a debate in Westminster on staff harassment.
Lib Dem MP Alistair Carmichael said: ‘It is the height of hypocrisy for the SNP to have carried out an informal inquiry, covered up the result and then allowed the author to lead for the party debates on the intimidation of staff.”
As revealed by the Record, an SNP staff member claimed the Glasgow North MP put his fingers behind his collar and touched his hair at London’s Water Poet bar in 2016 when he was 19.
A formal complaint to Westminster authorities has reportedly been upheld and referred to an independent panel. Grady stepped aside as chief whip when the allegations emerged.
The staffer claimed the SNP tried to resolve the issue informally in a meeting he attended with a tearful Grady and Westminster party leader Ian Blackford.
The plaintiff said Grady apologized at the time, but added: ‘I wouldn’t consider it mediation – I would consider it an ambush.’
According to The Record, Grady attended a behavior training course after the so-called ‘ambush’ meeting in 2018.
But he stayed on as the SNP’s disciplinary officer, stood again in the 2019 general election and was later elected to a wider role in the party.
Grady also gave a speech on a report of bullying and harassment of MPs’ staff after the incident with the staff member.
In the Commons in July 2019, he said MPs should not be ‘blind’ to the ‘occasional possibility of vexatious or malicious complaints’.
He said of the report: “Unfortunately, it contains accounts of behavior that many of us will have heard of and some of us may have witnessed.
“Bullying, harassment, and a toxic culture of insecurity and mining have proven to be commonplace, and they are all perhaps manifestations of more deeply rooted cultures and behaviors associated with the abuse of power.”
He also said: “Perhaps on reflection some of us will recognize our own behaviors.”
Our exclusive front page in March last year told how a young SNP staffer in Westminster filed sexual harassment complaints against two MPs.
He alleged that an MP, later revealed to be then-Chief Whip Patrick Grady, touched him inappropriately when he was 19 at London’s Water Poet bar in 2016 .
He also alleged another MP harassed him at Strangers’ Bar in Westminster in January 2020.
Patricia Gibson, who represents North Ayrshire and Arran, is the MP at the center of these latest claims, which she denies. She continues to serve on the front bench of SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford.
The staff member had told us about the Grady incident: “I was sitting on a sofa talking with colleagues and he perched on the side of the sofa.
“At that point, he started to put his fingers on the back of my collar, touching me inappropriately. He was also grabbing my hair.
The story sent shockwaves around Westminster and led to Grady, who represents Glasgow North East, stepping down as Chief Whip.
The staff member lodged complaints through Westminster’s independent complaints and grievances system.
Scottish Labor Party deputy leader Jackie Baillie said the “stunning revelations” raised “deeply worrying questions”.
She said: “Even now the SNP seem desperate to turn a blind eye to the allegations against Grady and carry on as normal.
Conservative MSP Annie Wells said: ‘The brave complainant who has come forward in this case will be in utter despair at the way the SNP has handled it. It feels more like a cover-up with each reveal that emerges.
“From the outset, there has been a lack of transparency from the SNP, either to the complainant or to the general public.
“Urgent answers must be given by the SNP as to why they have withheld crucial details of this case for so long.”
An SNP spokesman said: ‘It would not be legally appropriate to comment while the independent parliamentary process is ongoing.
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