Ian Blackford reeling from bullying allegations after backing SNP MP in sexual assault probe

·2 min read
Ian Blackford’s political career has been left hanging by a thread - House of Commons/PA
Ian Blackford’s political career has been left hanging by a thread - House of Commons/PA

Ian Blackford’s political career has been left hanging by a thread over claims he “regularly manhandled” an SNP staffer and protected an MP now facing a police investigation for allegedly sexually assaulting a teenager while drunk.

A parliamentary watchdog is investigating the SNP's Westminster leader after claims he bullied a party employee for several months in the House of Commons.

Mr Blackford, who has called the allegations “a crude attempt at a political smear”, is said to have told the worker: “If you don’t like it, you know where the door is”.

The alleged victim has lodged a complaint to the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGC), the Mail on Sunday reported.  

Mr Blackford is also facing repeated calls to step down after Patrick Grady, the Glasgow North MP, resigned following an allegation he sexually assaulted a teenager in an East London pub.

Patrick Grady, the Glasgow North MP, resigned following an allegation he sexually assaulted a teenager in an East London pub - Ken Jack/Getty
Patrick Grady, the Glasgow North MP, resigned following an allegation he sexually assaulted a teenager in an East London pub - Ken Jack/Getty

He had already been separately suspended from parliament for two days after he was found to have made a sexual advance to a SNP staff member, who was only 19 at the time.

Mr Blackford was forced to apologise last week after a leaked recording revealed he had urged party members to rally around Mr Grady following the findings of the parliamentary inquiry.

Now the Metropolitan Police has launched an investigation against Mr Grady after the fresh complaint, which includes claims he drunkenly harassed and “made sexual advances” towards a teenager in October 2016.

The new police report, published by the Sunday Mail, says the “young age” of the alleged victim was why Mr Grady, 42, “preyed” on him.  

The document, filed by a third party, claims he was left drinking alone with the teenager after all other MPs left the pub in Spitalfields.

The MP’s behaviour included “unwanted physical touching, with sexual intent, paramount to sexual assault” and that “his actions may also be criminal and should be investigated,” it said.

Police investigation

Detectives are now preparing to speak with the alleged victim, the Met confirmed.

Mr Grady said yesterday he has now resigned from the SNP and will sit as an independent.

A spokesman for the SNP said: "It would be inappropriate to comment on a police inquiry.”

On the allegations of bullying against Mr Blackford, they said the “”outrageous claims are entirely without foundation”.

They said he has “absolutely no knowledge” of any such complaint being made and that “there are no credible grounds whatsoever for such a complaint and, if an inquiry should proceed, he will engage fully to clear his name.”

“If the confidentiality of the complaints process has been breached, it suggests a deliberate but crude attempt at a political smear to generate negative headlines.”

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