ONE of the SNP’s most high-profile MPs of recent years, Joanna Cherry QC, has been cleared of allegations of bullying and condoning bullying by a member of her staff.

Famous for her forensic dismantling of Transport Minister Chris Grayling over the Seaborne Freight scandal, Cherry was faced two months ago with a single formal complaint to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

All the dealings of the Commissioner’s office are private and confidential but due to a precedent set in another case, Cherry was given leave to issue a two-sentence statement confirming that she had been cleared.

Cherry stated: “I’m pleased to be able to advise that I have been exonerated after an independent investigation into complaints that I had either condoned or been engaged in bullying within my constituency office. As I predicted, the allegations have not been upheld.”

The allegations were made by a former caseworker who accused Cherry of condoning “bullying” by her office manager and of being “a bully” herself.

Newspaper reports at the time stated there were four complaints against Cherry but only one complainant took the matter up with the Standards Commissioner.

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It is understood that Cherry provided evidence that no such bullying took place in her office or by her office staff, although The National can reveal that there was “a difference of opinion,” as one source put it, over staff timekeeping in particular.

The allegations were particularly hurtful to Cherry, 53, who is the SNP spokesperson on justice in the Commons. She said she was “not and never has been a bully”.

They also came at a time when Cherry had been given police protection after a series of death threats were made against her on social media. She also went public on her feelings

that she was the victim of “smear tactics” due to “infighting” within the SNP – there has been evidence of some members being upset at Cherry’s rise to prominence and she is known to be a friend of former First Minister Alex Salmond who is currently facing charges relating to alleged sex offences.

The National:

The fact that the complaint was released to the media angered Cherry most of all. Many of her colleagues in the SNP parliamentary group stood by her, while First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, below, said that Cherry was “a massive asset” to the party.

It is no secret that there are ongoing disputes within the SNP over the second independence referendum and tactics in relation to Brexit, but all sides recognise the effectiveness of Cherry as a formidable debater.

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A friend of Cherry’s told The National: “This has been an awful couple of months for Joanna, especially as she has been one of the most effective speakers in the House against the Tories’ Brexit madness.

“Her many friends in the party will be delighted at this news and now she can concentrate on what she does best, which is using her lawyer’s brain to take on this wicked Government.”

An SNP spokesperson said: “It is absolutely right that any complaint from staff is properly assessed by the relevant authorities to allow a conclusion to be reached.”