Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston has added his voice to those calling on the MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, Ian Blackford, to explain delays in taking action sexual harassment allegations relating to two SNP MPs.
The SNP’s Westminster Leader is under pressure after reports emerged that his colleague, Patrick Grady MP, was forced to stand down as SNP Chief Whip, while another as yet unnamed female nationalist MP also faced accusations.
Mr Halcro Johnston said that Ian Blackford must explain why the SNP had taken so long - incredibly, more than two years - to take action on Mr Grady, and why no action had appeared to be taken so far about the other MP concerned.
Scottish Conservative MP John Lamont has written to Ian Blackford raising his concerns about the delays, suggesting Mr Grady’s alleged misconduct was “widely known” amongst SNP colleagues but that he was “protected by the party”.
Jamie Halcro Johnston said : “It’s pretty clear that there are serious conduct and behaviour issues - both current and historic - relating to the SNP’s Westminster MPs. The SNP Group was already in disrepute after Margaret Ferrier put lives at risk by travelling while knowing she had Covid, and Neale Hanvey has only just returned to the SNP fold after his suspension for anti-Semitic remarks."
“Given that appalling record, as well as the disgrace of SNP Holyrood ministers Derek Mackay and Mark MacDonald, surely we could have expected Ian Blackford to at least act swiftly to deal with these claims?"
“Shockingly, that’s not the case and we have since discovered that the SNP leadership have apparently sat on these accusations for two years before they came to light. Ian Blackford has some very serious questions to answer about these latest allegations and whether the lack of action is dangerous incompetence or another attempt by the SNP to cover up serious allegations of sexual misconduct."
“Both at Westminster and at Holyrood, the SNP is gaining a reputation for protecting their party’s image over the interests of those complaining of their party colleagues’ conduct."
“Given the failure to act on these latest allegations – and how these latest complainants appear to have been let down - surely Ian Blackford’s position as Westminster leader should be untenable?”