PLAID Cymru has refused to reveal whether a disgraced politician suspended by Westminster authorities for an “unwanted sexual advance” towards a teenage member of staff remains a party member.

The SNP’s former chief whip, Patrick Grady, was last week suspended by Parliament for two days after an independent investigation found that he had behaved inappropriately towards an SNP researcher at a function in 2016.

When speaking in the House of Commons in 2018 Grady revealed that he had been a member of Plaid Cymru since September 2014.

Grady, the MP for Glasgow North, stood down from his position as the SNP's chief whip in Westminster when the complaint was formally made against him in May 2021.

When he revealed his Plaid membership he told MPs: "As well as being a member of the SNP, I am a member of Plaid Cymru, so this is a good opportunity to show solidarity not just with our colleagues from Wales. Well, I joined Plaid in September 2014, when people in their tens of thousands were joining the SNP and I wanted to show a bit of solidarity.

"I also joined the Campaign for Real Ale, because I thought that that was the closest I could find to an English equivalent."

READ MORE: Welsh MPs report abuse as one told she's a 'secret weapon as men want to sleep with her'

Plaid Cymru and SNP rules allow members to join other political parties as long as they do not compete with them during elections. Since neither Plaid Cymru nor the SNP stand candidates in each other’s nations their members are free to join the other.

When The National Wales approached Plaid Cymru for comment on whether or not Patrick Grady was still a member the party said: “We do not comment on the status of our membership list”.

Leaked audio from a meeting of the SNP group at Westminster revealed that the party's Westminster leader Ian Blackford was “very much looking forward to welcoming Patrick back into the group”, and encouraged other MPs to offer “as much support as possible”.

Grady said that he was “profoundly sorry” after a being found to have breached Parliament’s sexual misconduct policy by making unwanted sexual advances towards a then-19-year-old staff member when the MP was 36 while “under the influence of alcohol”.

Accordign to the parliamentary report the MP allegedly “made an unwanted sexual advance to the complainant that included the touching and stroking of the complainant’s neck, hair, and back”.

In a statement to the Commons, Mr Grady also said: “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.”

He continued: “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.”

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The junior SNP staffer who made the complaint has said that they’re considering legal action against the party which, he has since said, has made his life a “living hell”.

Speaking to LBC, the victim said: “It’s difficult to find any route back to work, to envision any route back to work.

“Especially given the man that’s responsible for staff, Ian Blackford, has directed the MPs to support Patrick”.

Joanna Cherry, the MP for Edinburgh South West said in a series of tweets that “for some time the SNP has had significant problems in how it handles complaints… My party needs to reflect on the contrast between the treatment of different offenders and to review our arrangements for the pastoral care of complainers.”

 

 

When writing about abuse of power and sexual misconduct in Parliament in her column for The National Wales earlier this year, former Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood wrote that “Plaid Cymru has a vetting system designed to filter out those whose views should exclude them from any role in public life. Yet still they get through. We have codes of conduct and disciplinary procedures in place but they are failing women.”

Delyn MP Rob Roberts was suspended from Parliament for six weeks last year following an investigation into allegations of sexual harrassment that found he had committed a “serious and persistent breach of the sexual misconduct policy”.

He was subsequently suspended by the Conservative party and now sits as an independent MP. There were calls from various parties at the time for Roberts to stand down as an MP.

After Roberts’ suspension, Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts said that “I honestly don’t think you can, with honour, remain in post as a Member of Parliament and I would join the calls for him to stand down”.

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A parliamentary watchdog, Independent Expert Panel (IEP), had recommended Grady's suspension.

Its report noted that the Commons has not barred all sexual relationships between MPs and staff, but also said disparities in status and power can be highly problematic.

A “second critical factor” noted was that the touching was “clearly sexual in intent” and was “exacerbated by the fact that the context was public, and drink had been taken”.

But the report noted that Grady accepted those points and “made a genuine apology” when confronted with the facts in 2018.

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