AN SNP employee who made a complaint of sexual harassment against the MP Patrick Grady to the House of Commons authorities has criticised the former chief whip's decision to stand for an influential party committee.

The staffer, who works for the party's group at Westminster, told The National that he was concerned that SNP rules appear to allow members under investigation by an independent body to put themselves forward for internal contests.

He urged the party to review the rule.

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The employee, who does not wish to be named, decided to speak out after he read in The National last week that Grady had thrown his hat into the ring to become a member of the party’s conferences committee.

The elections to the committee - and other party roles - are currently underway at the SNP's conference which is taking place online. 

The conferences committee helps shape what is on the party’s agenda for conference, which is the party's main arena for determining its policies.

The employee made his original complaint about Grady to the SNP on February 1 this year but he later withdrew it.

He said he had lost confidence in the party's internal probe and wanted the matter investigated by the Commons' complaint watchdog, the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS). 

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But he said the ICGS told him it could not investigate his complaints if the SNP were doing so. He said the ICGS inquiry is still ongoing.

“When I read the report that Patrick Grady is standing in internal elections, I was sorely disappointed to see him try to get a position in the party which can help set the agenda for conference and therefore influence policy,” he said.

“It’s concerning to see that he feels that he is allowed to stand. The rules need to be looked at again. If people under investigation by a Westminster watchdog are allowed to put themselves forward for internal party positions, I think that needs to be looked at and changed.”

He added: “In my view SNP members need to consider these rules again. Why is the party allowing someone to have the opportunity to gain more power and influence in the party who has been accused of quite serious allegations?

“This is an issue which needs to be discussed by SNP members. If someone is under investigation can they stand? And if yes, what is the line? If it’s a sexual harassment allegation is it a straight no? If it’s something like expenses, can you still stand?”

He added: "The SNP have, quite rightly, used strong language to express how they view sexual harassment, including saying they have implemented a zero-tolerance approach, however their actions simply don't line up with the what they've been saying.  

"Ultimately, I feel my interests as the victim are not at the forefront for the SNP but rather, protecting the party from bad press is their top priority."

On the personal impact on him of making the complaint, he said: "During this period, I have developed anxiety and had bouts of depression. The party's handling of my complaints only added to my anxiety and depression, which is the exact opposite of what the party should be doing."

His complaint to the SNP against Grady made on February 1 this year related to an incident in the Water Poet pub in London in 2016 in which the Glasgow North MP is alleged to have inappropriately touched the complainer, who was 19 at the time.

Grady stood down as the SNP’s chief whip in March this year

The staffer told the National he withdrew his complaint to the SNP after he lost confidence in the party investigation, saying he felt he was not being treated equally to the MP.

The Commons debated the Independent Complaints and Grievance Policy Programme Team’s Delivery Report in July 2018 and agreed a new parliament-wide behaviour code.

It agreed to incorporate, in the code of conduct, the expectation that MPs observe the principles of the behaviour code. 

A new rule was added to the code: “A member must treat their staff and all those visiting or working for or with parliament with dignity, courtesy and respect."

As part of the review an independent expert panel was established to determine sanctions and appeals relating to MPs. 

A House of Commons spokesperson said it could not confirm or deny any current investigations. 

The SNP and Patrick Grady have been both been approached for comment.

The ballot in the SNP's internal elections closes tomorrow at 11.30am with the results of the contests announced later.