Sturgeon says she will not ‘shy away’ from dealing with misconduct in SNP

The First Minister was asked about sexual misconduct claims within her own party.

01 May 2022

Nicola Sturgeon has said she will “not shy away” from dealing with issues of misconduct within her party.

The First Minister made the comments while appearing on Sophy Ridge’s Sky News on Sunday programme as she called for misogyny and harassment to be better dealt with in politics.

It comes following the resignation of a Conservative backbencher who stood down after watching pornography in the Commons.

Patrick Grady
SNP MP Patrick Grady is being investigated over claims reported to Westminster’s Independent Complaints and Grievance Service (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Ms Sturgeon was also asked about sexual misconduct allegations within her own party, as SNP MP Patrick Grady is investigated over claims he groped two male researchers.

The incidents are alleged to have occurred at a Christmas party in 2016.

Mr Grady, an MP for Glasgow North, stood aside as chief whip following the claims, which were reported to Westminster’s Independent Complaints and Grievance Service (ICGS).

An independent panel is expected to investigate the allegations.

Speaking on Sky News, the First Minister said she did not know the status of the investigation.

She said: “I’ve seen what has been reported, as I understand it the process is under way. I have not seen any findings.”

But Ms Sturgeon stressed she was not trying to “dodge” the issue and said the claims should be fully investigated.

She added: “I’m not trying to dodge this. It’s important that the process is allowed to proceed.

“When I do know whether … finally things have been upheld, I’m happy to come on and talk to you about that.

“And I’m happy to be open about what I think should happen in those circumstances.”

Neil Parish
Tory backbencher Neil Parish admitted watching pornography in the Commons (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/PA)

Her comments came as she called for a “culture” of misogyny and sexism with Westminster to be investigated, amid reports 15 complaints have been made about inappropriate conduct by male MPs.

These include Neil Parish who admitted to watching pornography in the Commons after female MPs complained about his actions. The Conservative Party suspended him and he has since resigned as an MP.

Ms Sturgeon added: “But what I will say is I think parties cannot simply throw stones when it’s people in other parties who have been found guilty of these things.

“We all have to apply these standards to ourselves and I will not shy away from that when I do know what the outcome of these processes are.”

She said the issues could deter women from entering into politics for fear of being targeted.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, who previously sat as an MP before becoming an MSP, said there was a “clear culture” of misogyny and sexism “in the corridors of power across society”.

Speaking in Glasgow, he said: “For far too often, the onus is on women to have to think about or change their behaviour, when ultimately it is men who need to change their behaviour.

“Women often have to think twice before they walk down certain streets, about the charge on their mobile phones when they are out and about.

“It is a toxic culture which is undermining the very principles that all of us, I hope, will try to hold dear to. We have got to get men to understand and change their behaviour.”

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