MP Patricia Gibson has told the News she is considering pursuing legal action after being named this week in connection with Westminster sexual harassment allegations.

The North Ayrshire member of parliament vehemently denies the claims which were published in a national newspaper - and told the News that the allegations made by a young staff member were 'malicious' and 'completely without foundation'.

Meanwhile long-serving MSP Kenneth Gibson, Patricia's husband, who is standing as the SNP's candidate in the upcoming Cunninghame North seat, has also strongly rebuffed fresh bullying claims against him, saying he is victim of a 'smear campaign' to damage him ahead of the Holyrood elections.

Ms Gibson, who has stood in the region for the SNP since 2015, says she 'welcomes the opportunity to clear her name in a formal investigation'.

Reports in the national press claimed new evidence had been brought forward to an internal party probe surrounding alleged inappropriate behaviour from two of the parties MPs after ex-chief whip Patrick Grady stepped down following similar allegations.

However Ms Gibson said no formal complaint within parliamentary process has been made since the alleged incident in January last year - adding she believed the complainer was unwilling to do so with 'the allegations being untrue'.

She told the News: "I have repeatedly stated when asked for comment on this story that these are malicious allegations which are completely without any foundation. That remains my position.

"As I made clear when these serious allegations were first made, there are significant doubts about the source of the story.

"In particular, the fact that these allegations date back to January 2020, and my understanding is that the complainant was repeatedly told by the SNP the correct way to make a complaint is following the Parliamentary process, but the complainant has chosen not to do that. "It is my position that he is unwilling to make a formal complaint because he knows the allegations are untrue and that will be the finding of any investigation.

"If there is a formal investigation into these malicious allegations then I welcome the opportunity to clear my name.

"I also understand that it has been confirmed to the SNP that there is no substance to allegations suggesting inappropriate sexual behaviour by me. On that basis I have nothing further to say about the purported evidence relied on by the media outlet in question. In any event, that evidence does not name me or support the allegations being made by this complainant about me, which appear to have changed over time.

"I am extremely disappointed and upset that the press decided to name me in this story when these allegations have not been investigated and are untrue. It continues to be the case that I will suffer significant harm if I am named in any story about these allegations, and I will consider my legal rights in the event that happens."

An SNP spokesperson said: "Individuals are entitled to have complaints dealt with confidentially.

"It would be inappropriate to comment."

According to a report in the Mail on Sunday, about a dozen SNP activists have made formal statements to a lawyer accusing Mr Gibson of bullying and harassment. Their statements allege aggressive aggressive behaviour particularly towards women members of the local party, including claims of systematic bullying and 'gaslighting' - a process of psychological abuse that causes victims to question their own minds.

Speaking to the News, Mr Gibson said: "These preposterous allegations have become increasingly ludicrous with each retelling. The SNP has found them to be categorically untrue.

"Some of those behind this vicious smear campaign have never even attended a constituency meeting.

"Active members know the truth, which is why I was overwhelmingly reselected last November.

"The root of this is bruised egos following previous internal candidate selections and a perceived lack of deference.

"The timing is obvious; to damage the SNP in this crucial election."