Committee recommends ex-Minister Mark McDonald be suspended without pay

Former SNP Minister for Childcare and Early Years Mark McDonald has been found guilty by the Holyrood Standards Committee of sexual harassment, and they have recommended that he be suspended from the Scottish Parliament for one month without pay.

The Standards Committee convened today to arrive at a conclusion following a report from the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life.

The SNP were heavily criticised for dragging their feet on the matter. After McDonald resigned as minister following the initial allegations, the party refused to divulge any further details, insisting that McDonald remained a ‘valuable’ part of the SNP group at Holyrood. He was finally kicked out after ‘new information’ emerged, which resulted in his suspension from the party and the group. McDonald has since refused to resign as an independent MSP.

The committee today revealed in full today what those allegations were: McDonald had sent inappropriate messages to a member of staff, and that he had failed to treat another with respect over a financial matter, both of which are considered a breach of rules. McDonald accepted the guilty verdict. The MSP will be suspended without pay for one month.

Other SNP MSPs have been more fortunate. When Uddingston and Bellshill MSP Richard Lyle commented on the size of an SNP’s staffers breasts, there was no further investigation after the woman in question accepted his apology. It was revealed earlier this year that the party had hired a team of private investigators to get to the bottom of the matter.

Following the verdict, Labour called for McDonald to resign, with Rhoda Grant stating that:

“As this report has shown, Mark McDonald’s behaviour has been well below that expected of anyone, let alone an MSP.

“Mark McDonald has let down his constituents and it is clear to everyone except him that he is totally unfit to represent the people of Donside.

“It is right that he faces a sanction for his behaviour, but the reality is the proposed action does not go far enough.

“Anyone with an ounce of decency in his position would do the right thing and immediately resign as an MSP.”

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