SNP MP faces two-day suspension over sexual misconduct

by 24britishtvJune 14, 2022, 9:01 p.m. 17
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The SNP’s former chief whip Patrick Grady is set to be suspended from the Commons for two days after a complaint was made about him inappropriately touching a 19-year-old member of staff in 2016.

The independent expert panel, which reviews bullying and sexual misconduct claims, said the complaint constituted a significant breach, even on a single occasion.

The incident took place at a work social event in a pub where Grady “made an unwanted sexual advance to the complainant that included the touching and stroking of the complainant’s neck, hair, and back”.

Grady did not appeal against the decision and said he was “profoundly sorry” for his behaviour. “I deeply regret my actions and their consequences,” he said.

The incident has been the source of controversy since the Scottish press reported how Grady and the SNP leadership tried to resolve the matter informally. Grady was given training but was allowed to keep his job as chief whip. He resigned from the role after the story of the complaint was reported by the Daily Record.

Speaking in the Commons, Grady said he had been intoxicated at the event and that he had made an “inappropriate physical advance” towards a junior member of staff 17 years younger than him.

Grady said he accepted the findings of the panel “in full, and without reservation” and that his conduct fell below the standards required of him because of the “considerable disparity in age and authority between myself and the complainant, and further aggravated by excessive consumption of alcohol on my part”.

He said: “I was wrong to make assumptions about the social and personal relationship that existed or had the potential to exist between myself and the complainant. I was wrong to act on those assumptions. Blurring personal and professional boundaries in a work environment can be highly problematic, causing confusion, embarrassment, upset and distress. And I should have been aware of that.”

Grady said he should been “far more cognisant of the significant age gap” and the “real and perceived power” that MPs hold. “I apologise to the complainant without reservation for my behaviour and for the distress and upset it has caused him.”

The watchdog concluded: “An unwanted physical touching, with sexual intent, from a senior MP to a junior member of staff, even on a single occasion, is a significant breach of the policy. It must be marked by some period of suspension from the house.

“However, for all the reasons we have set out, in this case it should be short, and will be somewhat shorter than it might have been by reference to the breaches of confidentiality by the complainant. We consider that the respondent should be suspended for two sitting days from the house, and that neither day should be a Friday.

“In addition, the respondent must make a full and unreserved apology to the house via a personal statement.”

Grady said he had undertaken training since the incident. His sanction will now be voted on by MPs, which is likely to lead to a two-day suspension.

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