10 March 2021 | UK NEWS

The SNP’s Chief Whip at Westminster has stepped down after it was confirmed that he is being investigated for alleged sexual harassment. A formal complaint has been submitted against the MP for Glasgow North by an SNP staff member.

Patrick Grady stands accused by the staffer of having put “his fingers down the back of my collar, touching me inappropriately there” and “grabbing” the man’s hair at the Water Poet pub in East London in 2016, The Daily Record reported.

A colleague of the alleged victim brought the incident to the attention of the SNP at the end of 2017. The party staff member was then reportedly called to a meeting with Grady and Ian Blackford in the SNP Westminster leader’s office where Grady, who was said to be visibly emotional, apologised for his behaviour. The alleged victim said that it felt like an “ambush”, but the SNP have disputed his version of the meeting, labelling it innacurate.

According to The Herald, two separate complaints were made about Grady’s behaviour at the SNP’s Christmas event on the 15 December 2016, at the Phoenix Artist Club in West London.

Letters were sent to the Speaker’s Office at the Commons in late December 2017 and early 2018. These were then passed to the SNP’s Compliance Unit, in line with the party’s harassment policy.

The letters claimed that Grady had groped two male researchers at the event, but was being “protected” by the SNP.

The first letter said: “A member of staff recently left [the] SNP who was groped sexually by Patrick Grady at last year’s Christmas party. He found this difficult as he is heterosexual and had to work with him.

“There was another male staff member who was groped sexually by Mr Grady the same night of last year.

“Given the position of Patrick Grady as Chief Whip, staff are scared to come forward because he is protected by the party. However, this happened at Westminster and there are concerns about risk to others if nothing is done.”

A second letter, written and signed by “concerned staff members”, also stated: “This matter in relation to repeated sexual misconduct is widely known about within Westminster and the SNP group, however, given his position and despite a supposed tough stance against harassment, Patrick Grady is being protected and his behaviour is supported.”

A spokesperson for the SNP said: “The SNP has today received a formal complaint. That allows due process to take place and we will not be commenting any further while an investigation is under way.”

Andrew is a political reporter and researcher. He has been a writer for a number of political and financial sites. His interests include classical history and rowing.

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