SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford is facing calls to stand down after a leaked recording showed him urging his colleagues to give their “absolute full support” to an MP suspended for making an “unwanted sexual advance” on a teenager.

Patrick Grady, formerly the SNP’s chief whip in London, was suspended by both the party and the Commons for two days after an investigation into the allegations against him concluded.

The probe examined the behaviour of Grady, who was 36 at the time, towards the then-19-year-old party staff member at a 2016 SNP social event while “under the influence of alcohol”.

The Glasgow North MP “made an unwanted sexual advance to the complainant that included the touching and stroking of the complainant’s neck, hair, and back”, a report into his conduct said.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon: SNP to 'reflect' on complaints process after Patrick Grady suspension

In a recording obtained by the Daily Mail, Blackford could be heard encouraging his MPs to give Grady “as much support as possible”.

Blackford said: “He’s going to face a number of challenges over the short term and so he should have our absolute full support.

“I for one very much look forward to welcoming Patrick back into the group next week. I am sure that everybody here will agree.”

Other MPs were also heard to speak in support of their colleague in the recording.

The news has led to calls for Blackford to step down as Westminster leader from opposition parties, as well as for Grady to resign his seat.

Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie said: “Nicola Sturgeon said zero tolerance for inappropriate sexual behaviour but Ian Blackford cheers him on. Such hypocrisy from the SNP.

“Ian Blackford needs to stand aside and Patrick Grady needs to resign his seat.”

The Scottish Conservative’s deputy leader, Meghan Gallacher, said: "Ian Blackford cannot remain as leader of the SNP at Westminster.

“Ever since this complaint was first raised the SNP have been evasive and sought to sweep it under the carpet. There was an orchestrated campaign from the very top of the SNP to back Patrick Grady – rather than support the young victim.

"Grady should have been properly censured by the SNP. Ian Blackford should resign for his appalling lack of judgment; and, if not, Nicola Sturgeon should sack him."

The SNP’s handling of the complaint was criticised by the young staffer, who said he had been made to feel as though it was his fault and that his life had been a “living hell”.

The party had been made aware of the allegations in early 2018, but Grady remained chief whip until Commons authorities launched a probe in May 2021.

Asked about the issue, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told STV: “We need to reflect on any view from a complainant that the process that was undertaken, rather than helping to resolve an issue, perhaps made the experience more difficult.”

She added: “One of the things that is so important here is that when people suffer this kind of behaviour … that the process they go through should not make the experience or the trauma that they have suffered worse.

“If any complainer feels that is the case then whatever organisation that has been at stake here, they have to reflect on that and I give an absolute assurance that the SNP will.”

In a personal statement to the Commons, Grady said: “I am profoundly sorry for my behaviour and I deeply regret my actions and their consequences.

“Any breach of the behaviour code and associated policies risks bringing this House into disrepute and will cause distress and upset not just to the complainant but to the wider parliamentary community.”

He accepted that on October 20, 2016 at a SNP social event he had “made an inappropriate physical advance to a junior member of SNP group staff”.

The SNP has been approached for comment.

A spokesperson previously told The Mail: “Staff and MPs have been offered pastoral support throughout this process. The group has a duty to ensure the personal welfare of all involved, including the impact on mental health and well-being.”