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image captionNicola Sturgeon has campaigned alongside Patrick Grady in Glasgow
Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed she was aware of “a concern” about SNP MP Patrick Grady before a harassment complaint was made against him.
The first minister and SNP leader said she was previously aware of “a concern, but not a formal complaint”.
Mr Grady has stepped aside as an SNP whip at Westminster while the party investigates allegations about his behaviour dating back to 2016.
Ms Sturgeon said that due process should be allowed to take its course.
An investigation was launched by the SNP earlier in March after a party staff member claimed that Mr Grady inappropriately touched him in a London pub in 2016.
This saw the Glasgow North MP step aside from his post as chief whip – a role he has held since 2017, which involves making sure a party’s MPs vote with the leadership.
Asked about when she learned of concerns about Mr Grady’s behaviour, Ms Sturgeon said: “I would have had an awareness previously of a concern, but not a formal complaint.
“I’m not going to say more than that because due process requires that an investigation is allowed to take its course.”
An SNP spokesman said: “In February 2018 an issue was highlighted by a third party to the Westminster group.
“As a result, an individual was contacted but they did not wish to raise any complaint. Accordingly the matter was dealt with informally and was understood to have been concluded to everyone’s satisfaction at that time.”
The spokesman said a formal complaint has now been lodged with the party’s national secretary and will be investigated.