THE SNP’s chief whip at Westminster has stood down after being named as one of two nationalist MPs at the centre of a sexual harassment storm – while pressure mounts to investigate claims that Ian Blackford attempted to silence the victim via a private apology.
Glasgow North MP Patrick Grady has resigned his whip’s position while the complaint is investigated.
The accusations relate to an SNP staffer who claims that one male SNP MP inappropriately touched him when he was 19, and accused another female MP of drunkenly asking him for sex in two separate incidents in London.
He said the first alleged incident involved a male MP – now understood to be Grady – in The Water Poet pub in 2016.
“I was sitting on a couch speaking with colleagues and he perched himself on the side of the couch” he said.
“At that point, he started putting his fingers down the back of my collar, touching me inappropriately there. He was also grabbing my hair.”
The alleged victim said he declined to raise the matter further as he did not want to go “head to head with an MP”, and later complained about the party’s processes after being ‘ambushed’ by group boss Ian Blackford who called him.
A meeting, he claims, was arranged by Blackford with the man and the MP he complained about to attempt to quash the scandal.
He said: “He calls me into the office and the other MP is sitting on the couch, crying.”
“At that time. I felt the only thing I could say was that it was OK. I wasn’t going to tear this guy down in front of me. It was pretty hard for me to watch.”
He added: “I wouldn’t view this as mediation – I would view it as ambush.”
The complainer said the separate incident, involving a female MP, happened in January last year in the Strangers Bar in Westminster.
And he has accused their Commons leader Ian Blackford of an “ambush” after calling him into a meeting to accept an apology from one of the alleged abusers.
His complaint is now being investigated by the SNP after it was submitted last month.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been informed, and an SNP spokesman 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 underway.”