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Critics slate SNP backing for sex harassment MP Patrick Grady

SNP MP Patrick Grady
SNP MP Patrick Grady

Labour said the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford should quit yesterday after he offered his support to an MP suspended for making an unwanted sexual advance to a teenage staffer.

SNP former chief whip Patrick Grady was given a two-day suspension from the Commons after breaching parliament’s sexual misconduct policy. However, a leaked recording from a private meeting of SNP MPs, revealed Blackford had encouraged his MPs to support Grady.

On the recording passed to the Daily Mail, Blackford is cheered and applauded after saying: “He’s going to face a number of challenges over the short term and so he should have our absolute full support.

“I for one very much look forward to welcoming Patrick back into the group next week. I am sure that everybody here will agree.”

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford (PA Wire)

However, political opponents said the SNP’s failure to properly investigate the complaints has been compounded by its offer of support for the MP.

Scottish Labour business manager Neil Bibby said: “That Ian Blackford and SNP MPs would stand and applaud after one of their colleagues admitted abusing his position to take sexual advantage of a staff member is disgusting.

“Mr Blackford is leader of the UK’s third party and close ally of the first minister, he must stand aside.”

Scottish Tory deputy leader Meghan Gallacher said: “Ian Blackford should resign for his appalling lack of judgment, and, if not, Nicola Sturgeon should sack him.”

Investigators found Grady made an unwanted sexual advance that included touching and stroking the complainants neck, hair, and back.

The SNP said: “The group has a duty to ensure the personal welfare of all involved, including the impact on mental health and well-being.”