Details of misconduct claims against former SNP minister revealed

Former minister for childcare and early years Mark McDonald stood down  after it was claimed he sent a woman lewd messages. Picture: John Devlin
Former minister for childcare and early years Mark McDonald stood down after it was claimed he sent a woman lewd messages. Picture: John Devlin

The details of misconduct claims against a former SNP minister that led to his resignation over allegations of inappropriate behaviour have come to light.

Mark McDonald stood down in November as minister for childcare and early years after it was claimed he sent a woman lewd messages referring to a sex act.

He apologised at the time saying that actions he had thought “to have been merely humorous or attempting to be friendly” might have made other people uncomfortable.

He was suspended by the SNP after a second allegation against him emerged.

The Sunday Times reported the comments were Twitter direct messages from the married MSP to the woman after attempts to meet up for a chat failed.

The texts for which Mr McDonald later apologised were sent to a woman in late 2016 and were brought to the attention of SNP managers late last year.

The newspaper said one of the messages read: “Cutting me deep”. It was followed by “That’s twice you’ve dingyed {ignored] me now. Twice. It’s ok tho I understand”, followed by sad emojis. A third direct message read: “My phone wanted to autocorrect dingyed to fingered there which I’m so glad I noticed before I sent that message”, which was followed by an emoji with a flushed face.

Private investigators working for the SNP are looking into a number of allegations against him, including claims that a woman woke in a hotel room with him and had no recollection of how she got there, and that he asked a colleague for a loan. The allegation regarding another woman surrounds an alleged incident in December 2015 after the SNP Christmas party in Edinburgh’s The George Hotel, now named The Principal. It was reported that after the party, some guests, including Mr McDonald, went to a nearby nightclub. At about 1am he and another male SNP colleague who was accompanied by the woman are said to have retired to the Holyrood hotel near the Scottish parliament where both men were staying. Investigators were told that, to the distress of the woman, the other male who was with her then went to bed.

Mr McDonald is said to have offered to order the woman a taxi but she was unable to give him the address where she was staying. As a result, it is claimed he offered to let her sleep on his bed while he slept on an armchair.

Throughout the investigation Mr McDonald has denied any wrongdoing insisting his concern was for her welfare.