Holyrood to launch inquiry after harassment claims

A Scottish Parliament Committee is to examine the Code of Conduct for elected representatives amid claims at Westminster and Holyrood of widespread harassment.

The Scottish Parliament. Picture: Jane Barlow.
The Scottish Parliament. Picture: Jane Barlow.

Children’s Minister Mark McDonald resigned from Nicola Sturgeon’s Government over the weekend after admitting that some of his previous behaviour was inappropriate, though he will remain an MSP.

Prominent lawyer Aamer Anwar claimed last month that the issue of sexual harassment at the Scottish Parliament as a ‘ticking time bomb’ and criticised male MSPs for their perceived silence over the problem.

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Nicola Sturgeon stands by McDonald's decision to stay on as MSP

Holyrood’s self-examination comes in the wake of the sexual abuse scandals that have rocked the world’s of entertainment and politics after details of the behaviour of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein emerged.

The Standards, Procedures, and Public Appointments Committee will examine whether the MSP Code of Conduct is still appropriate in terms of protecting staff at Holyrood.

Committee convener Clare Adamson said: “Our committee is agreed that we need to take stock of our culture, processes and rules and to ensure that there is clarity around these.

“Our inquiry will want to hear from equalities groups in Scotland, employment law experts and also from trade unions.

“It is important we also look to other legislatures with experience in this regard such as Iceland.

“The committee will want to consider carefully the precise remit of the inquiry and the witnesses it wants to hear from.”