Mark McDonald suspended by the SNP over conduct

Mark McDonald has now been suspended by the SNP
Mark McDonald has now been suspended by the SNP
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Former Children’s Minister Mark McDonald has been suspended by the SNP after “new information” emerged about his conduct.

The 37-year-old quit the Scottish Government almost a fortnight ago, after sending a text message to a woman which included a reference to a sex act.

But he seemed set to remain as an SNP MSP before the latest development on Thursday. It’s understood the latest information relates to a separate incident from the previous misdemeanour, but there has not yet been a formal complaint lodged with the party.

But a spokesman for the SNP said last night: “Following new information being received by the SNP over the course of the last 24 hours relating to the behaviour of Mark McDonald, he has been suspended from both the parliamentary group and the party while further investigation takes place.

“In the interests of due process and appropriate confidentiality no further comment will be made.”

It means that the married father of two will now sit as an independent at Holyrood.

Mr McDonald has not returned to Parliament since standing down as a minister, but was interviewed by the BBC outside his constituency office in Aberdeen yesterday as he turned up to meet constituents.

He said: “I reflected on what I’d done, reflected on the actions, believed that I’d caused somebody upset and distress, that’s why they raised concerns regarding what I’d done.

“I’ve reflected on that, I’ve apologised for that. I’ve stepped aside as a minister because I felt it was not appropriate for me to continue in my role as a minister.

Opposition leaders had questioned how he could remain in Parliament if he was snot fit to be a Scottish Government minister.

But he added: “My constituents will be the ones who will have the opportunity to watch how I conduct myself to look at whether my behaviour changes. As I’ve said, my behaviour will change.”

He had previously indicated that he had believed his actions to be “humorous or friendly” but on reflection could see that it may have made others feel uncomfortable.

He penned a newspaper article this week which revealed that he was to seek help to address his behaviour and vowed to change.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Mr McDonald’s behaviour in that case was “about language not physical conduct’’ and did not come close to language that would have to be reported to the police.

Mr McDonald was elected as SNP MSP for Aberdeen Donside in 2013.