SNP MP Patrick Grady faces two-day suspension from Commons over sexual misconduct breach
SNP MP Patrick Grady is facing a two-day suspension from the House of Commons for breaching the parliament’s sexual misconduct policy.
The recommendation, which is subject to approval by the Commons, was made by an Independent Expert Panel convened after the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards earlier found Grady had made an unwanted sexual advance to a member of staff during a 2016 work event.
The commissioner had found that Grady, who represents Glasgow North, had touched and stroked the complainant's neck, hair, and back at the event, which was held in a pub. Grady did not appeal that finding.
The panel considering sanction noted that MPs are not banned from beginning sexual relationships with staff members but stressed that “it is obvious that enormous care must be taken if such relationships are to be entered into” because “great disparities of status and power exist”.
“Any 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,” the panel said. “It must be marked by some period of suspension from the house.”
In reaching its decision on the two-day suspension, the panel said it took account of Grady’s remorse, the fact his actions were not repeated and that he has addressed his behaviour since.
In addition to the suspension, Grady must make a public apology in the House of Commons and a private one to the complainant.
The panel also noted that as the complainant had “repeatedly” breached the confidentiality required of the investigation process in “a deliberate attempt to publicly discredit Mr Grady” – something that led to him suffering “intrusive press activities and abuse on social media” – his recommended suspension is shorter than would otherwise have been the case.
Addressing the Commons this afternoon, Grady offered his apologies to the complainant "without reservation", noting that his behaviour had caused "distress and upset".
"I accept the findings of the the Independent Expert Panel and the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards in full and without reservation," he said.
"On the 20th of October 2016, at an SNP social event, I made an inappropriate physical advance to a junior member of SNP group staff.
"My behaviour and the intent behind it was a significant breach of the behaviour code and the sexual misconduct policy of the UK parliament.
"The breach was aggravated by a considerable disparity in age between myself and the complainant and further aggravated by excessive consumption of alcohol on my part.
"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 and wrong to act on those assumptions."
Despite the apology, opposition politicians have called for Grady's resignation.
Scottish Labour business manager Neil Bibby said the MP's behaviour had been "nothing short of utterly disgraceful", adding that “he should do the only honourable thing and resign his seat immediately".
Scottish Conservative MSP Annie Wells said the SNP had tried to sweep the claim against Grady "under the carpet", adding that as it had been upheld "he should be suspended immediately”.