SNP threatens own MPs with criminal action over leaked recording

The party has rallied around Mr Grady, a former national secretary of the SNP, despite previously claiming it would have “zero tolerance” of “unacceptable behavior” by its politicians.

During the incident, Mr Grady was found to have touched and stroked the male complainant’s neck, hair and back while under the influence of alcohol.

The complainant then told how he had felt “ambushed” by Mr Blackford when he called him to a meeting at which Mr Grady apologised.

Craig Hoy, the chairman of the Scottish Tories, said that the email sent out by Mr Thompson showed the Nationalists had “seriously warped priorities when it comes to handling severe misconduct.”

He added: “More effort appears to have gone into catching a mole than mending the hurt caused by Patrick Grady. And rather than protecting a vulnerable staffer, they are protecting their own necks and watching their backs.

“But threatening legal action and interrogating their own MPs in this way is a new low even for the Nationalists.”

He added: “Ian Blackford must now resign as Westminster leader or be sacked. And the chief whip and Nicola Sturgeon must also answer serious questions about why the SNP appears to care more about Mr Grady than the young man who says he has gone through a ‘living hell’ since lodging his complaint.”

‘SNP shows their true colours’

In the recording of the SNP meeting, Mr Blackford is heard telling his MPs that “you know how I feel about Patrick” and urged the group to “deliver as much support as possible”.

He added: “He is going to face a number of challenges and needs our absolute full support. I for one very much look forward to welcoming Patrick back into the group next week.”

The SNP suspended the whip from Mr Grady for two days, in line with the recommendation of the independent investigation for sanction in the Commons, but opponents had called for tougher action.

The complainant has said that the recording showed how the SNP was “closing ranks” and “shows them in their true colours”.

Joanna Cherry, one of the leading Westminster critics of the SNP hierarchy, has revealed that she was not at the meeting, ruling her out as a possible source.

Angus Robertson, the SNP’s Constitution Secretary, told the BBC on Sunday that there should be a “way back” for Mr Grady, who was previously the chief whip, before he stood down from the post over the allegations.

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