Mark McDonald faces a month’s suspension after sexual harassment probe

Written by Tom Freeman on 21 June 2018 in News

Committee recommends suspension for SNP MSP following report into sexual harassment allegations

Mark McDonald resignation - Facebook live stream

Former children’s minister Mark McDonald faces a month’s suspension from parliament, according to a ruling of Holyrood’s Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee.

The committee based the decision on a report on allegations of sexual harassment by the Aberdeen Donside MSP by ethics watchdog the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland.

The committee has recommended he be excluded from parliament for a month without pay, a decision which will now be voted on by parliament.

Convener Clare Haughey said McDonald "failed to treat one witness with respect" and that his conduct constituted sexual harassment. The committee wanted to send a “clear signal”, she added.

McDonald left his ministerial role in November over reports he had sent inappropriate messages on social media to a woman and was subsequently suspended by the SNP during an internal investigation

In March he quit the party and pledged to return to Holyrood as an independent MSP.

Other allegations were brought to the committee by McDonald’s former SNP colleague James Dornan concerning a member of his staff, but it is thought the report found insufficient evidence to support the claims.

Haughey expressed disappointment that Dornan had shared details of the allegations on social media.

In a statement, McDonald said he accepted the findings of the report and would accept the decision of parliament.

The “overwhelming majority” of Dornan’s complaint had been “disproved or disregarded” by the report, he added.

“The manner in which Mr Dornan chose to publicise his complaint, and make lurid allegations against me, has had a significant and lasting impact upon my personal mental health and wellbeing, and has thus affected my family,” he said.

“I am grateful that these allegations have not been upheld, as I have always denied them.”

The ethical standards commissioner's report will be published this afternoon.

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