SNP MP: I’m a victim of bullying – by my own colleagues
- Dr Lisa Cameron says she suffered panic attacks after being ostracised by Nationalist ‘group bullies’ in wake of Patrick Grady scandal
- ‘They behaved like I wasn’t there… it felt like group bullying’
A Nationalist MP has accused her own party of leaving her suffering panic attacks after she endured months of ‘group bullying’.
Lisa Cameron revealed the full extent of the mental health trauma she has suffered as a direct consequence of being ignored and sidelined by her party colleagues at Westminster.
She was ostracised after suggesting the party should be supporting the harassment victim of shamed MP Patrick Grady after the former chief whip was found guilty of sexual misconduct by the Westminster standards watchdog and suspended from the SNP for six months.
Yesterday she accused the party leadership of adopting a ‘cover-up and denial’ mentality to abuse and said they issued a directive to support the perpetrator rather than the victim.
The clinical psychologist also condemned SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn and his predecessor Ian Blackford for failing to check on her health despite informing whips she was having counselling.
Lisa Cameron condemned SNP’s ‘cover up’ mentality
She believes the party is trying to force her out as an MP as she faces a selection battle.
Ms Cameron told the Scottish Daily Mail: ‘Basically, the SNP gave me panic attacks.
‘The response in terms of the hostility I felt; not engaging with me; for many months people wouldn’t speak to me, some people when I would go into a room would just behave as though I was not there.
‘I had to go through all that with the counsellor… we had to go through a lot of scenarios to try to build my confidence up again.
‘I’m not saying people should have to speak to someone if they don’t wish to, but it felt very much like a group bullying mentality, almost like a sort of team bully.’
Ms Cameron, MP for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow, said the behaviour of Nationalist MPs towards her completely changed after she spoke out on behalf of the staff member who was harassed by Grady.
She said: ‘I feel like the hierarchy, the leadership at the time, basically issued a directive to support the perpetrator and I was the person who said at the time – not to cause a problem but because of my work experience in the field with victims – that we should have a victim-led approach.
‘We should be thinking what are we doing for the victim, and what are the victim’s feelings if we are going to be welcoming back the perpetrator.
‘I was really shocked at the response. It was basically ignored.
‘The hostility started afterwards and it was like I said something out of turn.
‘Having gone through it, reviewed it and spoken it through with the Westminster counsellor, he kept reassuring me “you’ve done the right thing, you wouldn’t be able to look yourself in the mirror if you hadn’t raised those issues, especially with your own background as a psychologist”.’
On Monday, Mr Flynn admitted he had not spoken to Ms Cameron since she first raised concerns last week and insisted her comments ‘don’t reflect my experience’.
But Ms Cameron said she told all three SNP chief whips at Westminster in the past 12 months that she was undergoing counselling.
Ms Cameron supported the harassment victim of shamed MP Patrick Grady, left. Stephen Flynn, right, admitted he had not spoken to Ms Cameron since she first raised concerns last week
She added: ‘There’s about 12 months of counselling records that go along with this. So for anybody to be trying to minimise it in any way is quite hurtful to me.’
Ms Cameron, who worked as a consultant clinical psychologist before becoming an MP in 2015, added: ‘It seems like there is more care about the perpetrator than anyone else in the whole situation, either the victim or those who try to support them.
‘It’s an unfortunate cover-up and denial mentality and it seems to persist.
‘As someone who has gone through all of that counselling, it seems to me it minimises what I’ve been through and minimises the situation with the victim as well to dismiss it in the way I’ve read about in the papers.’
Ms Cameron added: ‘Sometimes I feel that there is a kind of “let’s keep things behind closed doors” mentality, as though it’s better not to speak about it because it might have a negative impact on the party.
‘But in order to resolve and improve upon things, these issues need to be addressed.’
Ms Cameron is facing a selection battle in her constituency and confirmed that if local party members choose another candidate on October 12 then ‘I will consider my position’ – meaning it could trigger a by-election.
An SNP spokesman said: ‘A number of sitting SNP MPs will be involved in selection contests following the introduction of new constituency boundaries and it’s for local members to choose their candidate in a ballot.’
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