It has been reported that former SNP minister who quit over alleged sexual misconduct was given a ‘golden goodbye’ funded by the taxpayer.
Mark McDonald was automatically entitled to receive a “resettlement grant” of a quarter of his £29,083 ministerial salary despite admitting that he caused a woman “considerable distress”.
As a result, according to reports, the Aberdeen Donside MSP was given £7,270 from the Scottish Government for quitting as childcare minister after 18 months in post.
It is understood the sum of money was due to be paid 90 days after his resignation, which was accepted on November 4, 104 days ago.
READ MORE: Mark McDonald suspended by the SNP over conduct
Under the Scottish Parliamentary Pensions Act of 2009, all ministers receive a severance grant of at least 25 per cent of their additional ministerial salary when they leave their post to help them adjust to life after serving in office.
Regardless of how the time served ended, if it was scandal or ill-health, MSPs remain entitled to the payment, however, this has now been called for review by some appauled at the revelation.
Conservative MSP Alexander Burnett told the Herald that the payment to Mr McDonald was “clearly wrong” given the specifics of the case, and Holyrood should consider redrafting the legislation.
He said: “It’s important we look at these processes again to ensure this isn’t repeated.
“The public view of the parliament as a whole would worsen otherwise.”
Commenting, Labour MSP Rhoda Grant said: “This is unacceptable. It cannot be right that a minister who has resigned in such circumstances has effectively received a bonus from the taxpayer.
“If Mark McDonald has received this money, he must immediately return it or donate it to a charity such as Women’s Aid. The Scottish Parliament must also urgently review the law which allows this money to be given and appropriately reform it to avoid such circumstances in the future.”
READ MORE: SNP inquiry into Mark McDonald MSP ‘taking more time than it should’
Mark McDonald resigned as minister for childcare and early years after a woman formally complained to the SNP about his conduct.
While apologising for his “inappropriate” behaviour he admitted that he had caused “considerable distress and upset” after it emerged a suggestive text had been involved.
READ MORE: SNP Councillor criticised for insulting opponent online
Following a second allegation. he was later suspended by the SNP, which has since been criticised for its investigation into his conduct with Humza Yousaf admitting that the inquiry was “perhaps taking more time than it should”.
The SNP and Mr McDonald declined to comment on the payment.
A Holyrood spokesperson said: “Any change to the Scottish Parliamentary Pensions Act 2009 would ultimately be a matter for all MSPs.”