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Daily Record
Daily Record
National
Hannah Rodger

Senior SNP politician accused of groping teenager in sex attack at boozy flat party

A senior SNP politician is at the centre of claims he groped a teenager at a boozy party. Jordan Linden was promoted to a £45,000 council leader job and had ambitions to be an MP yet was the focus of complaints to party bosses about his behaviour.

The Sunday Mail can reveal that the 27-year-old is accused of making unwanted advances towards a teenager at a flat in Dundee after a Pride event in the city. Three sources have outlined details of allegations that Linden groped and sexually harassed the young man while the pair were in a room together and described the SNP councillor as being “very drunk”.

Just two months ago he was announced as leader of North Lanarkshire Council following May’s elections. SNP bosses are now under fire to explain why Linden, a former chairman of the Scottish Youth Parliament, was promoted while complaints about the incident to party chiefs were ignored.

Linden was nominated for selection to be a candidate in the Westminster election but, four days after the alleged incident in 2019, he announced publicly he would not be standing. At the time he said he wanted to “re-focus on my important work locally in council and on my own health and wellbeing” but several sources have claimed the decision related to the complaint.

The party where the incident is alleged to have taken place was on September 21, 2019, in a rented flat at Dundee’s Gourlay Yard. It came after the city’s annual Pride parade, with up to 20 SNP members and LGBT and independence-supporting activists present.

One activist claimed Linden “wouldn’t take no for an answer” and left the teenager “traumatised” afterwards. They said: “Most people were having a nice time and a few drinks after the Pride event. Jordan and [the victim] were in a room together.

It wasn’t until later I could see he was clearly uncomfortable and something had happened.”

The next day officials were contacted on behalf of the young victim, with the party’s compliance officer Ian McCann understood to have reached out to the alleged victim several times. A month later concerns were raised with McCann and the party’s then National Secretary Angus MacLeod that nothing had been done about the complaint.

At the time Linden was a councillor with North Lanarkshire Council and the vice-convener of the SNP’s youth wing, Young Scots for Independence.

It is the second time claims of this nature have been made against Linden. In 2017 he was forced to stand aside as a councillor while police investigated claims of sexual harassment at the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP). Officers later said they had established no criminality. Linden, a former chairman of the SYP, said the claims were false, he had been cleared of wrongdoing during an internal probe and accused those who made the claims as “spreading lies about me and others”.

One activist with knowledge of the 2019 allegation accused the party of “wilful negligence” and said people who report that they have been sexually harassed or assaulted in the SNP are not safe.

They said: “They’ve let [the victim] down and they’re exposing themselves to even more of these scandals because the process for complaints is so poor. The whole system needs to be changed. You can’t have one man – Ian McCann – dealing with every complaint when the membership is so large. In this case Jordan shouldn’t have continued to be a councillor and he certainly shouldn’t now be council leader with this complaint still unresolved.”

Another SNP member with knowledge of the incident said: “Nothing was done, nothing happened and Jordan was promoted to council leader. It’s not good enough and these incidents will just keep happening.

“Most people were having a nice night. There were about 20 people there. The guy was very young and pretty upset about what happened. It’s incredibly difficult to speak up and raise things and complain. The party handled this badly – just as they handled the Patrick Grady case badly.”

Approached by the Sunday Mail on Friday and the allegations put to him, Linden admitted he was “possibly” aware of them but declined to speak any further, asking for questions to be put in an email. He failed to respond.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford are under scrutiny for the handling of a complaint against MP Grady and were accused of turning a blind eye to the concerns about his behaviour.

Grady was found to have behaved in a sexually inappropriate manner towards a young SNP staff member during a night out in London in 2016 and was also claimed to have groped two others at a Christmas party that same year. Despite knowing there were concerns about Grady’s behaviour, the MP for Glasgow North West was promoted to chief whip in 2017.

Reacting to the latest allegations, Scottish Labour’s Neil Bibby said: “The SNP are known for operating under a veil of secrecy and cover-up. Every party has a duty to investigate complaints of sexual harassment and deliver a genuinely zero-tolerance approach to misconduct – but the Patrick Grady debacle has shown the SNP falling well below this standard.”

Lib Dem MSP Willie Rennie said: “The SNP’s reputation will be further sullied if they don’t address this.”

Scottish Conservative MSP Annie Wells said: “The SNP has already admitted the shortcomings of its procedures and handling in the Patrick Grady case. If it turns out the party has not effectively investigated this matter, or has failed to support the complainant, it will be yet another example of their failure to abide by their own ‘zero tolerance’ position.”

The SNP refused to comment last night.

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