Mark McDonald returns to Holyrood as it emerges victim had stroke

Scottish government childrens minister Mark McDonald during a visit to Tower View Nursery in Glasgow
Scottish government childrens minister Mark McDonald during a visit to Tower View Nursery in Glasgow

A victim of shamed ex-minister Mark McDonald suffered a stroke after the harassment she suffered at his hands.

The revelation is contained in a formal complaint to Holyrood chiefs that lifts the lid on the detail of some of Mr McDonald’s alleged conduct which led to his resignation from the SNP last week.

He has rejected calls to stand down as MSP for Aberdeen Donside and yesterday insisted that he wants the opportunity to show that he has changed his behaviour.

His former SNP colleague James Dornan has now lodged a formal complaint with Holyrood chiefs over Mr McDonald’s scheduled return to parliament today, where he will be housed in offices in the basement.

Mr Dornan’s letter to Holyrood’s Standards Committee sets out on the extent of Mr McDonald’s behaviour, which resulted in an SNP inquiry finding that he had abused his position of power with unwanted attention and messages to three different women. The report itself has never been published.

But the Glasgow Cathcart MSP says one of his staff members was among the women involved. It is claimed he was forced to chaperone the staff member from a Holyrood function to a waiting car as she had voiced fears McDonald would be waiting for her.

Mr Dornan adds: “As we left the building he was standing close to the exit and I have no doubt he was indeed waiting for her.”

Mr McDonald sent the woman “highly inappropriate” messages on social media and Mr Dornan witnessed the former children’s minister showing “unwanted attention within parliament grounds” on a number of occasions.

Mr Dornan urged the woman to report the matter but she was “afraid and anxious” over Mr McDonald’s status as a government minister and the Glasgow MSP took no action at her insistence.

She became so unwell with stress she was admitted hospital in Wishaw with a stroke in July 2017. Although there were other “extreme pressures” she was under, the letter adds that Mr McDonald’s behaviour “compounded” the situation.

The woman spent several months in rehabilitation and had six months off work, which has had a “massive impact” on her life.

Mr Dornan said the presence of his former party colleague would be a “clear negation” of the duty of care the Scottish Parliament has to its staff.

“In my view having Mr McDonald in the same workplace as his victims would be a clear negation of the duty of care that the parliament has to all its members of staff,” he added.

He calls for action to be taken to ensure staff members’ safety and wellbeing.

“I look forward to your committee giving this matter speedy and serious consideration, and would appreciate a timely response on this pressing matter,” he added.