NICOLA Sturgeon has said she wants to meet the man who was sexually harassed by one of her MPs to discuss the flaws in the SNP’s protection of victims.
The First Minister was grilled over the scandal surrounding the SNP after Glasgow North MP Patrick Grady was suspended from the Commons for making unwanted sexual advances against a junior member of staff, who was 19-years-old at the time.
She pledged to apologise to the victim – who has said he feels his life has been turned into a “living hell” by the party’s handling of his complaint – “in person” and backed her Westminster leader Ian Blackford for announcing an external review of complaint handling procedures.
But she noted the Scottish Conservative leader was posing the questions – which were delivered to an unusually quiet chamber – on the same day voters in two English constituencies went to the polls to fill seats left vacant by Tory sex scandals.
Ross countered by pointing out that both Neil Parish and Imran Ahmad Khan were suspended from the Conservative party and resigned from their seats – unlike Grady.
Sturgeon told MSPs she had written to the victim to offer an apology in person.
“When, as I hope it will, that interaction takes place, I will say sorry in person,” she added.
“It’s not my behaviour that was investigated but I am leader of the SNP and I take that responsibility very seriously.”
Addressing the controversy surrounding the leaked recording of a private meeting of SNP MPs who called for Grady to be supported during his suspension, Sturgeon said the comments made in the tape were “unacceptable”.
She added: “The recording of the SNP Westminster group meeting, I think, reveals part of what was wrong in that case.
“Indeed, some of the individuals recorded at that meeting have already said this themselves.
“It demonstrated – and I wasn’t at the meeting, so whether this is an accurate overall reflection of th discussion, I can’t comment on – but what I have heard suggests that more concern was shown for the perpetrator of this behaviour than was shown for the victim of it.
“I think that is utterly unacceptable and that is something I will be very clear about.”
Ross noted it was the first public comment the First Minister had made about the recording since it was published earlier this week.