THE SNP is facing calls to withdraw the party whip from two MPs - including North Ayrshire and Arran’s Patricia Gibson – after it was reported that sexual harassment complaints have been upheld against them.

Ms Gibson and former Westminster chief whip Patrick Grady had been investigated by an independent Westminster ethics watchdog.

The Sunday Times reported complaints against both MPs under the new Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme have been upheld and the pair asked to respond.

The Liberal Democrats said the SNP should withdraw the whip from both MPs, saying: “The SNP have been vocal about misconduct on the Conservative benches.

“They should recognise that the same standards they demand of others ought to apply to them.”

Despite partygate and other scandals involving their own party at Westminster, the Scottish Tories claimed the SNP were “engulfed in sleaze”.

Ms Gibson, 53, had been accused of making inappropriate comments to a male member of staff in a House of Commons bar in January 2020.

She has rejected the claims as unfounded and “malicious allegations”.

One SNP source familiar with the situation said: “To all intents and purposes it’s been a massive cover-up.

“Grady and Gibson have never been suspended. Grady was even elected to go forward for election to the SNP Conferences Committee last year, and got onto it. It comes across as really shabby.” It throws up questions for Blackford. He needs to go.” 

Stephen Kerr, the Tory chief whip at Holyrood, said: “It appears that Nicola Sturgeon’s party has yet again failed victims of alleged sexual misconduct.“The SNP have shown a complete lack of transparency and have tried to brush these horrendous incidents under the carpet in the hope people will forget about them.

“The victims deserve better than to be treated as an afterthought by the SNP who continue to be engulfed in sleaze.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat chief whip Wendy Chamberlain MP said: “Political parties should be supporting the independent investigation process. 

“Given that there has been an interim finding of misconduct, these MPs should now be suspended while the full process concludes.”

“The SNP have been vocal about misconduct on the Conservative benches, they should recognise that the same standards they demand of others ought to apply to them as well.”

Asked if the party was suspending either MP and whether Mr Blackford would apologise for organising the meeting with Mr Grady’s complainer, the SNP refused to say.

Asked if there had been a cover-up, the SNP also refused to say.

Instead, the party issued a one-line statement, saying: “It would not be legally appropriate to comment while the independent parliamentary process is ongoing.”

Ms Gibson was approached for comment but was unable to respond by the time this issue of the Times went to print.