Grady has SNP whip restored following suspension over sexual harassment claims

MP Patrick Grady has had the SNP whip restored after serving a six-month suspension over sexual harassment allegations from a party staff member.

The SNP’s former chief whip was suspended from the House of Commons for two days after an independent investigation into the incident at a London pub in 2016.

Mr Grady said he was “profoundly sorry” for the incident, which drew criticism from across the political spectrum, and resigned his party membership while a police investigation – which concluded without charges being brought – was carried out.

On Thursday, the SNP confirmed in a short statement that Mr Grady had served his suspension.

“Following a six-month suspension, Patrick Grady has resumed his membership of the SNP,” a spokesman for the party said.

The Glasgow North MP sat as an independent MP after his resignation from the party, and returns under new leadership at Westminster, with Stephen Flynn having taken over from Ian Blackford earlier this month.

Mr Blackford was in the firing line for his handling of the situation involving Mr Grady, with the Scottish Sun releasing a recording of the former Westminster leader saying fellow MPs should seek to support him during his suspension.

The staff member involved in the incident has repeatedly hit out at how the SNP handled the situation, claiming his life had been made a “living hell”.

Scottish Conservative MSP Annie Wells said Mr Grady’s return to the SNP benches at Westminster was “disgraceful”, claiming he “has got away with little more than a slap on the wrist”.

Ian Blackford
Ian Blackford was heard on a recording urging MPs to support Mr Grady during his suspension from the party (Andrew Milligan/PA)

She added: “His belated resignation back in June was already far too little, too late. The fact that he has now been welcomed back into the Westminster fold after just a few short months is a slap in the face to his victim.”

Media reports suggested the handling of the Grady affair was a reason for the ousting of Mr Blackford – a claim vociferously denied by Mr Blackford, the party and his successor.

Ms Wells added: “Ian Blackford’s shameful decision to back Grady, rather than his victim, was the main reason cited for SNP MPs toppling him as Westminster leader.

“Yet now his spineless successor Stephen Flynn has happily invited Grady to rejoin the fold.

“Nicola Sturgeon is equally culpable in this craven decision – and should be ashamed of herself for giving this the green light.

“If the SNP had any integrity at all, they would have sacked Patrick Grady for good. By welcoming him back with open arms, they have only demonstrated that sexual harassment is acceptable within their party.

“The SNP have betrayed all those who have suffered sexual harassment and bullying – and made it far less likely that any future victims come forward.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said the SNP had attempted to sneak the announcement out during festive period.

“This decision by the SNP to brush Patrick Grady’s behaviour under the carpet and welcome him back into the parliamentary party under cover of the Christmas break is beneath contempt,” he said.

“It was unpleasant enough to hear Ian Blackford rallying support among SNP MPs for Patrick Grady instead of his victim over the summer, yet alone to see that all is seemingly forgiven just six months later.

“All parties need to do better in dealing with proven cases of unacceptable behaviour. For the SNP that should start with once again removing the party whip from Patrick Grady.”