Humza Yousaf is facing yet more internal calls to take action against one of his own representatives and, this time, it’s not Nicola Sturgeon. The ex-SNP staffer who accused Patrick Grady of sexual harassment has called for the disgraced MP to be barred from standing again as a candidate. He adds there are “serious concerns about his character and suitability for public office”.
In a damning letter, revealed by the Daily Record, the victim added a call for a previous claim into SNP MP Patricia Gibson to be reinvestigated. He said his experience had been traumatic and that making a complaint cost him his “career, livelihood and dreams”. The former staffer also calls out the silence of SNP HQ and Nicola Sturgeon’s failure to deliver on a promised meeting. Guido doubts Sturgeon’s sycophant successor will do any better.
Co-conspirators can read the letter below:
Away from the by-election drama, the SNP is still somehow tying itself in knots over Patrick Grady. Yesterday Nicola Sturgeon finally condemned Blackford and his Westminster colleagues for their “utterly unacceptable” support of Grady, only to then tell journalists she still had confidence in Blackford and wasn’t calling for his resignation. Now Blackford himself has spoken out on the leaked recording for the first time. Well, he’s spoken – he hasn’t answered many questions…
In an excruciating nine-minute STV interview, Blackford was asked six times if it’s permissible for a sex pest to be an MP. Not once did he give a straight answer. Instead, he claimed there had to be “due process”… even though there already has been, and Brady was found guilty:
“Patrick Grady was found guilty and has led to a suspension of him from Parliament for two days… There has to be due process in all of this and Patrick Grady was found guilty under that process and was dealt with and suspended from Parliament.”
Asked why he hasn’t just booted Grady out of the party, Blackford claimed:
“Well, because, at the end of the day, discipline within the SNP happens through a number of ways. It happens through actions taken by the SNP group, it can be actions taken by the SNP headquarters. And the decision that was taken on a proportionate basis given a two-day suspension by Parliament that Patrick Grady would be suspended for a week. Now, it’s up for Patrick Grady to reflect on his behaviour and where he goes from that.”
This morning, Guido spotted an SNP MP deciding to butt in on the issue of Dowden’s principled resignation. Perhaps they should get their own house in order…
Nicola Sturgeon has finally spoken out against Ian Blackford and the other SNP MPs for their backing of disgraced sex pest Patrick Grady. Having flown back to Britain from her Italian climate change summit, Sturgeon condemned the group – who were recorded clapping along for Grady earlier this week – for their “utterly unacceptable” behaviour during a FMQs session this afternoon:
The recording of the Westminster group meeting I think reveals part of what was wrong in that case. Indeed some of the individuals who were recorded at that meeting have already said this themselves. It demonstrated – and I wasn’t at the meeting, so whether this is an accurate overall reflection of discussion, I can’t comment on – but what I have heard suggests that more concern was shown for the perpetrator of this behaviour than was shown for the victim of it. I think that is utterly unacceptable and that is something I will be very clear about.”
Meanwhile Blackford’s own apology for the incident has been dismissed as a “cop out” by Brady’s victim…
Back in March Ian Blackford was forced to deny resignation rumours, amid claims published by Politico that he was planning to step down because of infighting among the party’s MPs. Now, due to mistakes of his own making, Blackford is actually having to fight for his job.
On Friday, The Mail published an exclusive that Blackford had been recorded at an SNP MP meeting directing his group of parliamentarians to throw their support behind Patrick Grady, who earlier in the week had been found guilty of sexual harassment and sentenced to two days suspension. The recording heard Blackford say MPs should give him their “absolute full support”. A long way from when he proudly tweeted in 2017 “I am happy to affirm SNP Westminster group will have zero tolerance of unacceptable behaviour”…
Urgent Question on sexual harassment underway. I am happy to affirm SNP Westminster group will have zero tolerance of unacceptable behaviour— Ian Blackford 🇺🇦🏴 (@Ianblackford_MP) October 30, 2017
The next day The Sun published the recording, in which SNP MPs are heard applauding and saying “hear, hear”, along with interventions from Amy Callaghan and Marion Fellows, a junior whip who worked for Grady. Following the recording leak, the SNP’s Westminster chief whip finally pulled his finger out… and threatened the leaker with legal action.
After all this farce, Guido can confidently say this scandal is not going to abate anytime soon. The complainer at the heart of the Grady investigation told LBC this morning that he’s “considering his options and they include possible legal action.”
It’s also worth remembering that Patrick Grady is not alone in being accused of sexual impropriety by the victim. Also in attendance at Blackford’s pro-Grady rally, Guido’s told, was one Patricia Gibson, who is herself under investigation by the Commons’ Independent Expert Panel for sexual harassment. Gibson’s currently attempting to appeal the decision against her, dragging the process out. Guido hears the complainant actually reported the Gibson incident to the chief whip the very next day, however he was too busy to deal with it. The chief whip when the incident was reported? Mr Patrick Grady…
“The Independent Expert Panel (IEP) has today (14 June) published a report recommending that Patrick Grady MP is suspended from the House of Commons for two days for a breach of Parliament’s Sexual Misconduct Policy…
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.
The sub-panel took into account Mr Grady’s genuine remorse for his actions, that they were not repeated once rebuffed, and his efforts to address his behaviour since the incident. It therefore recommended Mr Grady be suspended for two sitting days, make a public apology in the House of Commons, and a private one to the complainant.”
Patrick Grady was, until these allegations were made public, the SNP’s Westminster Chief Whip. Reminder: 1 in 5 SNP MPs Has Quit, Been Sacked, Is Under Investigation or Suspended
SNP’s Westminster turmoil continues after two senior members of their front bench were accused of sexually harassing a member of staff – Patrick Grady and Patricia Gibson.* A punchy email from the member of staff behind two-thirds of the allegations has now been leaked in which he wrote to SNP staffers “to let you know that you are not safe working for the SNP Westminster Group”:
“These concerns were raised with HQ, who have yet to approach any witnesses or even do anything other than get a statement over 2 months ago.
Two MPs witnessed the harassment by Patricia but she is still serving and neither witness has been approached. Why?
Ian Blackford knows about the Patrick Grady harassment, he’s still an SNP MP speaking on the SNP benches. Why?”
He ends the communiqué warning fellow staffers that they may be the “next to receive sexual harassment when you are expected to work on the Parliamentary Estate.”
The jaw-dropping email was not only sent by a serving member of staff, it was sent to Ian Blackford and Kirsten Oswald, CC’ing in members of staff. Incredibly, he continues working for the SNP…
*Ms Gibson says she will sue Guido if we name her. On what grounds we do not know.