SNP MSPs want Mark McDonald to move office

Mark McDonald, former Aberdeen Donside MSP,  resigned as children's minister last year and quit the SNP last week after an internal inquiry found he sent 'inappropriate and unwanted text messages' to female staff.
Mark McDonald, former Aberdeen Donside MSP, resigned as children's minister last year and quit the SNP last week after an internal inquiry found he sent 'inappropriate and unwanted text messages' to female staff.
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SNP MSPs have said Mark McDonald must move office to ensure that he no longer works beside his former colleagues when he returns to Holyrood next week, it has emerged.

As calls for Mr McDonald to quit the Scottish Parliament intensified, SNP politicians yesterday insisted the Aberdeen Donside should be no longer have an office in the area of Holyrood reserved for the Scottish Nationalists.

SNP MSPs have offices on the third, fourth and fifth floors of the MSPs’ block. Until now, Mr McDonald’s office has been on the fourth floor with an SNP MSP on either side.

“He is not going on our corridor,” said a SNP source last night. “MSPs have made it clear that it is not an option to continue on an SNP floor of the parliament. It’s a non-starter.”

It is up to the Holyrood authorities where Mr McDonald’s office is located when he returns to parliament for the first time since November last year.

Yesterday anger grew over Mr McDonald’s refusal to resign as a MSP after a SNP inquiry found he pestered women with “unwanted” attention and sent them inappropriate text messages.

His former colleague Kirsty Blackman, MP for Aberdeen North, added her voice to Nicola Sturgeon’s when she suggested he should step aside.

While the Taxpayers’ Alliance suggested Holyrood should be given the power to recall politicians whose behaviour is not up to scratch.

At Westminster, a recall petition can be triggered if a MP receives a prison sentece, is suspended from the House or provide false expenses claims. If more than 10 per cent of constituents sign the petition the MP’s seat is lost and a by-election takes place.

Ms Blackman said: “Mark McDonald stood on a SNP platform to become a MSP. I think his constituents deserve the right – now that he has stood down from the SNP – to choose again, to have a vote and decide which MSP they want to represent them at Holyrood.”

Ms Blackman, whose Westminster constituency overlaps with Mr McDonald’s Holyrood one, was asked what constituents thought about the situation.

She said: “The people that I have spoken to have said they want the chance to vote again. They want the chance to decide whether or not they want an SNP MSP representing them or whether they want an independent MSP representing them.”

John O’Connell, chief executive at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Mr. McDonald’s decision to carry on pocketing his £62,000 salary is a slap in the face for Scottish taxpayers and Aberdeen voters. This case clearly demonstrates the need for voters to have the power to recall politicians and boot them out for good.”

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