SNP MSP who quit Scottish Government over beahaviour hopes for return

Mark McDonald, former Minister for Childcare and Early Years
Mark McDonald, former Minister for Childcare and Early Years
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The SNP MSP who quit the Scottish Government after behaving inappropriately towards a woman hopes to return to Nicola Sturgeon’s administration, it emerged last night.

In his resignation letter to the First Minister, Mark McDonald said: “I hope that I may be able to serve the government again in the future”.

The letter was published last night at the end of a day that saw a series of developments triggered by the sexual harassment scandal gripping Westminster and Holyrood.

An investigation into the handling of sleaze allegations was launched by the parliament’s Standard’s Committee while two members of the all male Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) stepped down. Gordon MacDonald of the SNP and Andy Wightman of the Greens quit to make way for females in order to give the five-strong management body some gender balance. They stood down shortly after Ms Sturgeon said a male dominated SPCB was “unacceptable” at First Minister’s Questions, a session that also saw her reject suggestions that Mr McDonald should resign as an MSP.

Meanwhile, the Holyrood authorities revealed that the sexual harassment hotline set up at the beginning of the week has received four calls in the first three days since it opened. The contents of Mr McDonald’s letter came to light after Ms Sturgeon had been tackled at Holyrood by Labour’s Jackie Baillie, who suggested Mr McDonald should resign as an MSP.

Ms Sturgeon said his inappropriate behaviour was to do “with language and not physical conduct”, and it “was not language that would come anywhere close to requiring to be referred to the police”.

Mr McDonald, the MSP for Aberdeen Donside, resigned on Saturday night over a single text sent to a female. Ms Sturgeon’s spokesman refused to disclose what was in the text. The spokesman said the recipient of the text did not want to take matters further.

In his letter, Mr McDonald said: “In recent days I have been made aware that some of my behaviour, where I thought I was being humorous or friendly, has made some women feel uncomfortable or led them to question my intentions.

“I offer an unreserved apology for that to any woman concerned...I will continue to serve my constituency...and I hope that I may be able to serve the government again in the future.”