AN SNP employee has said he has “no faith” in Nicola Sturgeon’s promise to learn lessons about the handling of complaints of harassment within her party after his own complaints against two MPs were bungled for “years”.

The party is also under pressure to suspend the two MPs involved in the allegations and investigate them fully.

The man, who is still employed by the SNP, said a male MP touched him inappropriately on the neck while in a London pub in 2016, but went on to become his boss.

Four years later the employee was put in the position of having to report a complaint of sexually inappropriate behaviour by a female MP to his boss - the same MP who had previously harassed him.

The female MP was promoted a year after the incident happened, prompting the man to complain to SNP HQ due to the fact he would have to work with her more closely and felt unable to do so.

He was also unhappy that no action had been taken by his manager to address his concerns for more than a year, and there had been no apparent repercussions against the female MP who harassed him.

The man has urged the SNP to suspend both MPs while the incidents are investigated.

The party has previously suspended other MPs and MSPs while complaints have been probed, including Derek Mackay, Margaret Ferrier, Mark McDonald and Neale Hanvey. 


He explained: “I heard Nicola [Sturgeon] say last week that she’ll learn from mistakes of the Alex [Salmond] stuff, but it’s really hard to believe that when my situation’s going on.

“I want to believe her but I can’t.

“The party simply doesn’t take this stuff seriously - they have a responsibility to be a role model to employers up and down the country.

“The MPs should be suspended and the whip removed. This needs to be properly addressed.”

The first incident in 2016 happened at the Water Poet pub in London, when a male MP “perched himself on the side of the couch” beside the man, and “started putting his fingers down the back of my collar, touching me inappropriately there” and “grabbing my hair”.

READ MORE: SNP worker accuses two SNP MPs of inappropriate touching and sexual misconduct

The incident was brought to the attention of the SNP’s HR department when the ‘Me Too’ scandal gripped parliament in 2017. The man was asked to confirm what happened, which he did, and said he did not want to take any further action.

He claims that after speaking with HR, Ian Blackford then called him to his office for a meeting, where the male MP was also in attendance “crying” and “apologising”.

The SNP has disputed the nature of the meeting but would not explain what it did not agree with.

The second incident took place in Stranger’s Bar in the House of Commons in January 2020.

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The man claims a female SNP MP was “very, very drunk” and said: “She was grabbing my hand, pulling me closer and saying to me things like ‘You should come home with me.’

“She was saying things that were completely inappropriate in terms of what she wanted to do when I went home with her.”

The female MP described the allegations as “utterly absurd and malicious” and said they were “completely without any foundation”.

However the Herald has spoken to a parliamentary employee who witnessed the incident and has corroborated the man’s account.

It is also understood that a fellow SNP MP was also at the bar and saw the events that evening, and has been asked for his account by SNP HQ.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon's appearance at Alex Salmond inquiry 'sparks surge in SNP members'

The parliamentary employee, who was in the bar at the same time, said: “I had come into Strangers and saw [the complainant] with two MPs.

“I was with some other MPs and staffers, but had gone back and forth to say hello as I was friends with [the complainant].

“You could see throughout the night that [the MP] was getting more and more drunk, and quite..well…lairy.

“She was putting her hands on his shoulders, feeling his arms, touching him and grabbing his hand. She also kept leaning over and saying something to him, I don’t know what she said, but afterwards I could see that he was really uncomfortable.

“She was also putting her arms around me and things but not in the same way.

“It wasn’t really appropriate for someone who is clearly in a senior position to a junior staff member, who is also probably about double his age.

“Initially I didn’t want to get involved in this, but as [the MP] has denied doing anything...I felt I couldn’t really stay silent. I also feel for [the complainant] because this will probably put their job at risk.

“It isn’t easy to do something like this, and to speak out, but the whole situation has been handled appallingly.”

Speaking to The Herald, the complainant explained that he contacted SNP HQ but was told that complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace could not be investigated by the party’s National Secretary, and was advised he could follow the Westminster complaints procedure to complain about incidents within the parliamentary estate.

The man has since been moved to a different office, but still working for the SNP.

Yesterday Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the issues “will be being pursued properly and appropriately by the SNP, and those involved.”

The SNP last night added: “It’s important that due process takes place. Advice has been offered on how to make a formal complaint so that a proper investigation can be carried out.”

Both MPs did not respond when asked for comment by The Herald.