SNP MP Patricia Gibson has been cleared of sexual harassment following in an investigation by Westminster's sleaze watchdog.

The North Ayrshire and Arran MP was accused of making inappropriate comments to a male member of staff in a Commons bar in January 2020.

She has always denied the allegations, having described them as "malicious".

While the complaint had been initially upheld by Standards Commissioner it was later overturned by the Independent Expert Panel.

READ MORE: Ian Blackford apologises and releases statement on leaked Patrick Grady recording

The man who made the complaint about Gibson is the same young SNP staffer that was targeted with an "unwanted sexual advance" from SNP MP Patrick Grady.

The complaint against Grady was upheld but the victim's identity remains unknown after it was reported he signed a non-disclosure agreement.

The man has said he is considering legal action against the party.

Glasgow North MP Grady was found by an independent investigation to have behaved inappropriately towards a member of staff at a party function in 2016 and suspended from Parliament for two days.

The party also withdrew the whip from the MP until he had served his suspension.

But the handling of the complaint has drawn criticism, most notably from the victim himself, who said he had been made to feel as though it was his fault and his life had been made a “living hell”.

Speaking to LBC, the complainer, who still works for the party, said it was “difficult to envision” a way back to work for him.

Over the weekend, audio was leaked to the Daily Mail newspaper of a meeting of the SNP group at Westminster, where leader Ian Blackford said he is “very much looking forward to welcoming Patrick back into the group next week”, and encouraging fellow MPs to offer “as much support as possible”.

In light of the recording, the complainer said: “In terms of work, the situation is very difficult right now.

“It’s difficult to find any route back to work, to envision any route back to work.

“Especially given the man that’s responsible for staff, Ian Blackford, has directed the MPs to support Patrick.

“How is that going to impact on me should I return back to work? I don’t think I’m going to be well received at work, and I don’t think anyone would blame me for having that view after hearing the audio recording.”

He added: “In terms of work, I’m considering my options, if that includes legal action, then so be it, but I am considering my options at the moment.”

The complainer’s comments come as one of the SNP’s own MPs said the party has “significant problems” in how it handles complaints.

In a pair of tweets on Monday, Joanna Cherry said: “I wasn’t at the SNP Westminster group meeting last week.

“I don’t condone the covert recording or leak. However, for some time the SNP has had significant problems in how it handles complaints.

“My party needs to reflect on the contrast between the treatment of different offenders and to review our arrangements for the pastoral care of complainers.”

Cherry has frequently been at odds with party leadership over a number of issues including her opposition to reform of gender recognition legislation.

Scottish Constitution Secretary, and former Westminster leader, Angus Robertson, accused opposition parties criticising the SNP of “throwing bricks while sitting in glass houses”.

Robertson also said that the outcomes of independent investigations should be respected.

“That’s exactly what’s happening and Ian Blackford is right to recognise that,” he told STV News.

“But, at the same time, say that when somebody has paid the price that they’ve been told that they have to pay, people have to have a future beyond that.”

READ MORE: What SNP figures are really saying about the Patrick Grady leaked audio row

The comments come after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said her party would “reflect” on its processes following Mr Grady’s suspension.

Speaking to STV News on Thursday, Ms Sturgeon said: “One of the things that is so important here is that when people suffer this kind of behaviour, that the process they go through should not make the experience or the trauma that they have suffered worse.

“If any complainer feels that is the case, then whatever organisation that has been at stake here, they have to reflect on that and I give an absolute assurance that the SNP will.”

Grady made an apology in the Commons after the suspension was handed down, saying: “I am profoundly sorry for my behaviour and I deeply regret my actions and their consequences.”