Ian Blackford backed by SNP deputy leader over handling of Grady complaint

Mr Blackford could be heard to support Mr Grady in leaked audio

Published

The SNP’s deputy leader has said he has full confidence in Ian Blackford after how he handled a complaint made against one of his MPs.

The party’s Westminster leader has drawn criticism in the wake of an independent investigation finding that Patrick Grady had acted inappropriately towards a member of SNP staff while drunk in 2016.

Mr Grady was suspended from the House of Commons for two days as a result of the probe, with the party whip removed until the suspension had been served.

The Scottish Sun released a recording made from an SNP group meeting, where Mr Blackford could be heard urging colleagues to support Mr Grady.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford
Undated handout photo issued by UK Parliament of Patrick Grady
Undated handout photo issued by UK Parliament of Patrick Grady

The man who first made the complaint has also repeatedly criticised how it was handled within the party, including not ruling out taking legal action.

Reports this week suggest that after sending an email to SNP staff, his accounts were locked and Westminster deputy leader Kirsten Oswald told him further emails could be grounds for disciplinary action.

Speaking on the BBC’s Sunday Show, Mr Brown – who added his apology to the victim – said he retained confidence in Mr Blackford’s leadership.

“It is the case that Ian Blackford has said he will look to make changes in relation to how these situations are dealt with,” he said.

“Nobody is saying it’s the right way to deal with this situation, but it’s very important that lessons are learned and improvements are taken forward.”

“I do have confidence in Ian Blackford.”