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SNP complaint handling probe must be transparent, Murray warns Sturgeon

SNP MP Patrick Grady
SNP MP Patrick Grady

A probe into the SNP’s procedures amid sexual misconduct complaints must not be a “whitewash”, shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray has said.

The Labour MP for Edinburgh South has written to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to urge her to commit to publishing the findings of an independent investigation.

The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford promised an external review into how the party handles misconduct complaints and the support available to staff.

It comes after Mr Blackford faced criticism for his handling of the complaint about the behaviour of SNP MP Patrick Grady.

An independent investigation found the Glasgow North MP behaved inappropriately towards a male party worker and he was suspended from Parliament for two days.

But in a leaked audio recording published by the Scottish Sun, Mr Blackford was heard telling SNP MPs he looked forward to “welcoming Patrick back into the group” and encouraging fellow MPs to give him as much support as possible.

Ms Sturgeon has condemned the recording as “utterly unacceptable”.

Mr Murray warned Ms Sturgeon of a “pattern of behaviour” within her party, where harassment is covered up by senior leadership figures, and said “incredibly serious questions” must be answered.

In his letter, he continued: “I am therefore writing to you to urge you to ensure the independent review into party procedures, promised by Ian Blackford, upholds the highest standards of independence and transparency.

“We need a full independent investigation to ensure victims of sexual misconduct can have confidence in your party and its leadership.

“However, given the SNP’s history of secrecy and cover-up, I am seeking reassurance that this review will not simply be a whitewash.

“I hope that you will confirm that this will be a truly independent and comprehensive investigation and give a commitment that the findings will be published.”

On Thursday, Mr Blackford responded to criticism against him, stating his party handled the issue correctly in line with Westminster procedures.

In an interview with STV, he said it is up to Mr Grady to “reflect on his behaviour” and where he goes from there.