2016: Sturgeon on Patrick Grady – Sexual Predator I was aware of concerns but there were no complaints
Grady made unwanted sexual advances to a male teenaged staffer employed by the Party at Westminster by touching and stroking his hair, back and neck.
Ian Blackford, then leader of the SNP group at Westminster instigated a process effectively brushing Grady’s behaviour under the carpet a state of affairs that remained in place until 2022 when the content of a meeting led by Blackford was leaked revealing him urging colleagues to show support for Grady while failing to mention the victim.
Blackford was replaced by Stephen Flynn soon after.
The matter was investigated by House of Commons officials and Grady was forced to make a public apology in the Commons, for his unacceptable behaviour and a private one to the victim and was suspended from parliament for 2 days.
Weeks later the SNP was forced by press and public pressure to deal with the matter but only after the Scottish police opened an investigation into events in London.
Grady was called to account and following his admission to the offences he was first removed from his offical positions within the Party and had his party membership withdrawn.
Nicola Sturgeon then made a brief statement to the press that the process for complaining within the SNP was not fit for purpose and the victim had been badly served by the Party.
Six short months later the Glasgow North MP returned to the Party. Fully reinstated.
Shocked political observers commented: “This decision clearly shows that the SNP has no desire to root out sleaze or punish offenders. It is business as usual for the SNP Westminster club. Grady should have had the whip removed permanently but no matter, at the next election, the people of Glasgow will have the chance to give Grady his marching orders.”
And what of the teenager six years after the event. He feels he was badly let down by people he trusted and was forced to leave employment with the Party in London. His concern is that the outcome of his complaints will reinforce the views of many that abuse of staff employed by the SNP will continue unabated.
Dec 2018: Former SNP councillor, North Lanarkshire District Council wins her defamation case
Julie McAnulty, former SNP councillor won a £40,000 defamation payout after she sued fellow SNP activist Sheena McCulloch who made a malicious allegation of racism against her.
The allegation was first raised by McCulloch in a letter to SNP compliance manager Ian McCann, and copied to chief executive Peter Murrell, and then-National Secretary Patrick Grady.
(This is the same person reported to McCann, 2 years previously, as a sexual predator of teenagers in Westminster).
McNulty denied the allegations and asked McCann for the backing of SNP headquarters to clear her name.
Her plea for assistance was refused forcing her to pursue the matter in the civil court.
Explaining her decision she said: “It should never have got to this stage. The SNP’s internal procedures are more than capable of resolving the matter. But for reasons not explained to me they declined to get involved.”
In his judgement Lord Uist, stated the accusation was part of a campaign against her by an “opposing faction within the local SNP”.
He said it was designed to prevent her being nominated as a candidate for the Scottish Parliament and “possibly to oust her from the party.”
North Lanarkshire Council depute leader, Labour’s Paul Kelly, said: “It is clear that SNP headquarters should immediately conduct a full investigation of the elected members who played their part in this scandal.” There was no investigation.
2017 Jordan Linden accused of sexual misconduct
Jordan Linden, then Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, was accused of sexual misconduct in sending explicit photographs to another SYP member. He denied the claim and a police investigation failed to establish any criminality.
Note: These events are still unresolved many years later . Complainants continue to press for their allegations to be properly investigated and resolved to their satisfaction. What has happened since adds weight to their arguments.
Sep 2019: Ian McCann, Compliance Officer for the SNP was formally advised of allegations of sexual harrassment against Jordan Linden claiming he had made unwelcome sexual advances on he person of another male member of the Party at an after event function in Dundee on 21 September 2019.
Four days later Councillor Linden, who had been lauded before the function by Huma Yousaf as a person who would “make an outstanding MP” withdrew his nomination to become athe Westminster candidate for Coatbridge, Chryston & Bellshill at the next General Election.
Oct 2019: Concerns were raised with Mr McCann, but not resolved, about why no action appeared to have been taken over the matter. Much later activists told the press that SNP HQ had shown “wilful negligence”, and that “nothing was done.”
Mar 2022: Councillor Linden was elected leader of the SNP opposition group on North Lanarkshire council by his fellow councillors. Not long after the local press picked up on events at Dundee and asked Linden if there was any truth in the matter. He declined to comment but did not deny the allegations.
Sep 2022: Sophia Coyle spoke out after weeks of strife at crisis-hit North Lanarkshire Council, claiming the party is turning a blind eye to harassment she and others have endured.
She alleged another Councillor, tipped by party insiders as a potential leader of the SNP group in Lanarkshire, had been “obstructive, aggressive and abusive” towards her since he became a councillor.
She said: “His behaviour towards me has caused other branch members to complain. It’s not as if I have been the only one. He tried to block me from standing as the branch woman’s officer and, when my dad resigned, he said I should not be involved in Party meetings because of what happened. I’ve no control over my dad, his decision was nothing to do with me. Good members have written in and complained. Over the years I have emailed Ian McCann (SNP Compliance Officer) and I’ve yet to have a response from the guy, let alone a phone call. It’s absolutely shocking and he needs to explain what it is he’s doing about complaints.”