Former SNP chief whip Patrick Grady will be excluded from the House of Commons for two days after a report that he improperly touched a 19-year-old staff member in 2016.
According to the independent expert panel that reviews complaints of bullying and sexual misconduct, even a single instance of the alleged behaviour constituted a serious violation.
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Patrick Grady “made an inappropriate sexual approach to the complainant by caressing and stroking the complainant’s neck, hair, and back” during a work-related social gathering in a pub.
Grady did not pursue an appeal but expressed “deep regret” for his actions. “I really regret my actions and their results,” he stated.
Since the Scottish press learned that Grady and the SNP leadership attempted to address the matter informally, the subject has generated criticism. Grady was trained, but he remained his position as head whip. When the charge appeared in the Daily Record, he resigned from his position.
Grady acknowledged before the House of Commons that he was inebriated at the time and made a “inappropriate physical move” toward a 17-year-old staff member.
Grady said that he accepted the panel’s conclusions “in full and without reservation,” but conceded that his behavior fell short of the norms expected of him due to a “large age and power difference between myself and the complainant, exacerbated by substantial alcohol use on my part.”
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He stated, “I was incorrect about the social and personal connection that existed or may have existed between myself and the complainant.” By acting on the basis of these assumptions, I made a mistake. The difficulty of blurring personal and professional boundaries at work may result in uncertainty, embarrassment, dissatisfaction, and sadness. And I ought to have been aware.”
Patrick Grady said that he should have been “far more cognizant of the substantial age gap” and the “actual and perceived influence” of MPs. “I truly regret my actions and the suffering and sorrow they have brought to the complainant.”
“A senior MP’s unwanted sexually motivated physical contact with a subordinate staff person, even once, is a significant breach of the rules,” the watchdog stated. It must be followed by a term of residence exclusion.
“However, for all the reasons stated, it should be brief in this instance, and it will be far shorter than if the complaint had broken confidentially.” The respondent should be barred from the premises for two sitting days, with no Fridays included.
“In addition, the reply must submit a letter to the homeowner expressing complete and unreserved regret.”
Grady said that he had received training after the incident. The legislature will decide on his penalty, which will likely be a two-day suspension.