Mark McDonald faces calls to quit as an MSP

Written by Tom Freeman on 7 March 2018 in News

Nicola Sturgeon joins calls for former minister Mark McDonald to step down

Former children's minister Mark McDonald faces calls to resign his seat over allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards women.

The Aberdeen Donside MSP yesterday resigned from the SNP over the allegations but vowed to stay on as an independent.

Among those calling for him to step down and trigger a by-election was First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon.

In a statement yesterday McDonald insisted he had not intended to cause "upset, discomfort or offence" but that he "deeply regrets" his actions.

He is set to resume his parliamentary duties next week, but opposition voices said his constituents will question the move.

Scottish Labour's Parliamentary Business Manager Rhoda Grant said: "Mark McDonald decided his conduct was not fit for a minister or an SNP MSP - but somehow it is acceptable for an MSP without party affiliation.

"People in Aberdeen Donside will rightly question that. It looks like Mark McDonald has put the reputation of the SNP before what is best for his constituents.

"The message from this statement today is that Mark McDonald considers the reputation of the SNP more important than the standards expected of an MSP." 

Sturgeon said the SNP could not force him to quit his seat, but added: "My view is clear. He was elected as an SNP MSP. If his behaviour is such that he himself considers he cannot continue as an SNP MSP, then it would be appropriate to give his constituents the opportunity to elect a new MSP".

There are rumours former MPs Alex Salmond or Angus Robertson could stand in what is one of the safest SNP seats in Scotland if a by-election is called.

An SNP Spokesperson said: "The findings of the independent investigation were shared with Mark McDonald on Monday, and the SNP group was due to consider disciplinary action, based on those findings.

“Investigators concluded that Mr McDonald had been deliberate in his actions, and should have been aware that it was not appropriate for an individual in his position to be behaving in such a manner.”

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