PATRICK Grady, the former SNP chief whip, should be suspended from Parliament after breaching sexual misconduct rules, the Commons watchdog has recommended.

The SNP MP for Glasgow North was investigated after he made unwanted sexual advances on a party staffer and was found to have broken Parliament’s sexual misconduct policy.

Grady should be suspended from the Commons for two days for the breach, according to the Independent Expert Panel – the body set up to sanction MPs in cases of harassment or bullying claims.

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In total, nine allegations were made against Grady, three in relation to sexual misconduct and five in relation to bullying and harassment.

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Only one of these has been upheld and relates to the MP stroking the then-19-year-old staff member’s hair, neck and back in a sexual manner while drunk in a pub in 2016 during a work social event.

The report on Grady’s conduct, published on Tuesday, found the age gap between the pair – Grady was 36 at the time – was an “aggravating factor” in the offence.

While relationships between MPs and their staff are not entirely forbidden, the report, authored by IPE chair Stephen Irwin, noted that significant disparities in “age and experience” and “status and power” made initiating relationships “highly problematic”.

The report also condemned Grady for attempting to initiate a relationship through physical contact and in a public place.

Complaints against the MP on the grounds of bullying and harassment, including one that was made after the investigation were launched were dismissed by the IEP and the complainant was found to have made a “deliberate attempt to publicly discredit” the MP by leaking information about the investigation to the media.

Grady resigned as the SNP’s chief whip – a top role in the parliamentary party – in March 2021 after the party confirmed it had received a complaint against him.

It is understood he is currently under administrative suspension from the party and colleagues will discuss his fate on Tuesday evening. 

The IPE recommended the relatively lenient sanction of a two-day suspension and a requirement to make both a public and private apology for his conduct because he had not persisted with his advances once rebuffed and had made a “genuine apology” once confronted with his actions in 2018.

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The report also noted the staff member’s behaviour in leaking information to the press had had a “lasting effect” on Grady and has since faced “intrusive press activities and abuse on social media”.

Grady apologised to MPs today - as recommended by the report - in the House of Commons, telling colleagues he was "profoundly sorry" for his bahaviour. 

He added: "I deeply regret my actions and their consequences.

"My behaviour and the intent behind it was a significant breach of the behaviour code and sexual misconduct policy for the UK Parliament. The breach is aggravated by a considerable disparity in age and authority between myself and the complainant and further aggravated by excessive consumption of alcohol on my part.

“I was wrong to make assumptions about the social and personal relationship that existed or had potential to exist between myself and the complainant, and wrong to act on those assumptions.

“Blurring personal and professional boundaries in a work environment can be highly problematic, causing confusion, embarrassment, upset and distress and I should have been aware of that.

“I should have been far more cognisant of the significant age gap of 17 years between myself and the complainant and I should have been far more appreciative of the perceptions other people have of me as an elected representative and the real and perceived power that we hold.”

The Scottish Tories have accused the SNP of a "cover up" and trying to "protect" Grady from the accusations while demanding his immediate suspension from the party. 

Conservative MSP for Glasgow Annie Wells said: "They shamefully tried to sweep these serious complaints - which have now been upheld - under the carpet. At every single turn there was a lack of transparency from them over how the investigation was proceeding."

It was revealed earlier this year that 56 MPs – including three government minsters – were facing allegations of sexual misconduct.

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Former Tory MP Neil Parish was revealed in April to have watched pornography in the Commons and has now resigned from parliament.

The SNP was approached for comment.