Independent Expert Panel recommends suspending Patrick Grady MP for sexual misconduct
14 June 2022
The Independent Expert Panel (IEP) has today (14 June) published a report recommending that Patrick Grady MP is suspended from the House of Commons for two days for a breach of Parliament’s Sexual Misconduct Policy.
Following an investigation by an independent investigator the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards upheld an allegation of sexual misconduct against Mr Grady by a member of party staff made under Parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS).
The Commissioner concluded that in 2016 at a work social event in a pub Mr Grady made an unwanted sexual advance to the complainant that included the touching and stroking of the complainant's neck, hair, and back. Mr Grady did not appeal the decision.
The IEP sub-panel considering sanction warned that although MPs are not banned from beginning sexual relationships with staff members:
[…] it is obvious that enormous care must be taken if such relationships are to be entered into. Great disparities of status and power exist. Where a considerable disparity of age and experience is added into the mix, it will be highly problematic to initiate a sexual relationship without the risk that there is no true mutuality.
It concluded that:
An unwanted physical touching, with sexual intent, from a senior MP to a junior member of staff, even on a single occasion, is a significant breach of the policy. It must be marked by some period of suspension from the House.
The sub-panel took into account Mr Grady’s genuine remorse for his actions, that they were not repeated once rebuffed, and his efforts to address his behaviour since the incident. It therefore recommended Mr Grady be suspended for two sitting days, make a public apology in the House of Commons, and a private one to the complainant.
Everyone involved in an ICGS complaint is required to keep all details of it confidential until a report is published. The sub-panel therefore reduced the recommended suspension because the “complainant breached confidentiality repeatedly”; and these breaches were “a deliberate attempt to publicly discredit Mr Grady”, leading to him suffering “intrusive press activities and abuse on social media.”
The IEP stressed that keeping ICGS complaints confidential:
[…] is vital in the interest of complainants and witnesses. If confidentiality is not maintained, there is a real concern that valid complaints will not be laid, and that witnesses will not be prepared to give their evidence […]. Confidentiality is also vital to protect MPs from spurious or exaggerated reporting of unproven allegations, which can permanently damage reputations […]