Former Scottish Government minister Mark McDonald resigns from the SNP
Mark McDonald has resigned from the SNP following allegations of inappropriate behaviour.
McDonald resigned as minister for childcare and early years in November, saying that some of his previous actions “have been considered to be inappropriate”, before being suspended by the SNP after the party received “new information” about his conduct.
The Aberdeen Donside MSP then faced an internal investigation followed by a meeting with representatives from the SNP yesterday.
In one case, media reports claimed a woman had approached the SNP after waking up in McDonald’s hotel bedroom without any recollection of how she got there, after a Christmas party in 2015. The party has previously said there was no criminality involved in the allegations against McDonald.
McDonald today announced that he has contacted the national secretary of the SNP, and the chief whip of the parliamentary group, to resign from the party with immediate effect, saying “my behaviour towards two individuals fell below the level of professionalism that they were entitled to expect of me, whether in a professional or a social context”.
He added: “While at no stage was my behaviour in any way physically abusive, and while it was certainly not my intention to cause any upset, discomfort or offence to those concerned, it is clear through the concerns highlighted in the report that I have done so.”
McDonald has stated his intention to return to Holyrood next week to sit as an independent MSP.
In his statement, McDonald says that although he was suspended from the SNP on 16 November, he was not informed of the allegations made against him until 14 January.
McDonald said: “I was told on 9th February, after requesting to know when the report would be concluded that the timescale would be one of days, rather than weeks. Yesterday afternoon I was allowed to read the findings for the very first time, although I have not been given a copy, either of those findings or of the substantive report.
“The findings, which I cannot disclose other than in very general terms, confirm that I have accepted that my behaviour towards two individuals fell below the level of professionalism that they were entitled to expect of me, whether in a professional or a social context.
“While at no stage was my behaviour in any way physically abusive, and while it was certainly not my intention to cause any upset, discomfort or offence to those concerned, it is clear through the concerns highlighted in the report that I have done so.
“That is something which I deeply regret. I would like to take the opportunity here and now to offer a public and unreserved apology to those individuals for the hurt and offence that I have caused them.”
He added: “Being prepared in this way to see myself as others might see me was a daunting but necessary step for me to begin to truly understand the potential effects on others of my past actions. As a result, I hope that I am well on my way to becoming a better, more empathetic and considerate person for having undertaken these sessions, although that will clearly be for others to determine.
“There has been much discussion of the issue of power. We as politicians often like to assume that election or elevation to high office does not change us as people, and for many that is the case, but it does change the dynamic of our relationships with others, and that was something which I had not fully appreciated.”
McDonald was elected as a list MSP in the 2011 election for the Scottish Parliament, before becoming MSP for Aberdeen Donside in 2013.