SNP MP says she was ‘ostracised’ by party for speaking out against sex pest

The SNP has been hit by a fresh bullying scandal after one of its senior MPs claimed she was targeted for speaking out against a sex pest nationalist colleague.

Dr Lisa Cameron – who represents East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow – revealed she was forced to seek 12 months of counselling at Westminster as a result of being shunned by the party hierarchy.

She said her nightmare began when she was outspoken about the party’s approach to SNP MP Patrick Grady.

Mr Grady was suspended from the SNP last year for making an unwanted sexual advance to a teenage member of staff, but has since had the whip restored.

Dr Cameron said she was left feeling “ostracised” after saying that the focus should be on the victim, against a party directive to support Mr Grady.

She added that it had a “huge impact” on her mental health over the course of a year. 

Dr Cameron, who previously worked in the NHS as a consultant clinical psychologist, told the Express: “I’ve had difficulties in the past in terms of where I’ve not toed the party line on certain things that I don’t believe in. I like to stick to my principles and people know that anyway.

“But the difficulty really snowballed in the period where the sexual harassment case against Patrick Grady was ongoing.

“I had spoken out in a meeting where senior people in the party were not taking a victim-led approach. And because I worked as a psychologist before I said it’s really important that we consider the victim and we need to be focused on the victim.

“I couldn’t understand why that wasn’t happening but senior people were all advocating supporting the perpetrator at the time. So I was left feeling really out of step with the party after that meeting when I spoke out.

“I felt quite ostracised, there wasn’t an awful lot of people speaking to me when I was in the House of Commons from my own party, although I was speaking to people from other parties as normal. Even in the House of Commons tea room colleagues were not speaking to me very much.

“I was in touch with the victim and I was trying to give him a bit of support because I felt he was very isolated. And I ended up having to go for counselling in the welfare department of Parliament for about 12 months.”

Dr Cameron is now facing a challenge to remain as the SNP’s candidate in her seat, which she has represented since 2015.

She said: “I’m not surprised that a candidate from HQ has been encouraged to stand against me. I feel like it’s my hometown and I’ve worked really hard and we’ve done a lot locally. So I really want to continue to dedicate myself to my constituents.

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“And I love the constituency work because it’s very linked with my psychology work, helping people and so that’s the bit that I really enjoy and what I like to focus on. So I want to contest the seat and obviously I’ll continue to do my very best.”

Mr Grady, a former chief whip, was given a two-day ban from Parliament in June 2022 after a Commons sleaze watchdog found he made an unwanted sexual advance to a 19-year-old member of SNP staff at a social event in 2016.

The Glasgow North MP admitted his behaviour and apologised “without reservation”.

He had the SNP whip restored in December last year following a six-month suspension.

The SNP was contacted for comment.

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