Calls to change law after sex-row SNP minister given '˜golden goodbye'

The Holyrood authorities will next week be urged to change the law entitling Mark McDonald to a £7,270 pay-off after quitting as a minister over his 'inappropriate behaviour'.

Mark McDonald was automatically entitled to receive a resettlement grant. Picture: Contributed
Mark McDonald was automatically entitled to receive a resettlement grant. Picture: Contributed

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SNP sex-row minister Mark McDonald receives '˜golden goodbye'

Kezia Dugdale, Labour’s representative on the Scottish Parliament’s Corporate Body (SPCB), will raise the issue when it first meets after the parliament returns from the February recess.

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Last night Holyrood confirmed that the Aberdeen Donside MSP’s “resettlement grant” is on the agenda of the SCPB, the group of MSPs who are responsible for running the parliament. Mr McDonald is automatically entitled to receive a “resettlement grant”, despite the circumstances of his departure.

The grant of £7,270 is one quarter of the extra £29,083 he received on top of his MSPs’ pay for being a minister.Under the Scottish Parliamentary Pensions Act 2009, departing ministers are entitled to the payment 90 days after they quit. Mr McDonald resigned on November 4 last year after admitting he caused a woman “considerable distress”.

The SNP is investigating the claims made against Mr McDonald including allegations he sent a text message to a woman which included reference to a sex act.

Mr McDonald has not been seen at Holyrood since his resignation. Scottish Labour’s business manager Rhoda Grant said: “It’s clear that the Scottish Parliament must urgently review the law which allows this money to be given and appropriately reform it to avoid such circumstances in the future. I have asked Labour’s representative on the corporate body Kezia Dugdale to raise this with all members of the SCPB on behalf of the party and seek to examine what reforms can be introduced.” It is understood Ms Dugdale intends to do as Ms Grant suggested. A Holyrood spokeswoman said: “The SPCB will discuss this matter at it’s next meeting on Thursday.”