A politician at the centre of an investigation into his behaviour has resigned from his party – but will remain as an MSP.
Aberdeen Donside MSP Mark McDonald gave a press conference this afternoon in which he apologised for his behaviour.
Allegations have been raised that Mr McDonald behaved improperly towards three women and an investigation has been carried out.
During the press conference, Mr McDonald read a statement in which he said he could not go into detail about the investigation’s findings but accepted his behaviour was short of what was expected.
He said he has sought the help of a behaviour coach to help improve his behaviour.
A SNP spokesperson said: “The findings of the independent investigation were shared with Mark McDonald on Monday, and the SNP group was due to consider disciplinary action, based on those findings.
“Investigators concluded that Mr McDonald had been deliberate in his actions, and should have been aware that it was not appropriate for an individual in his position to be behaving in such a manner. Mr McDonald today publicly resigned from the party.”
Mr McDonald was suspended from the SNP in November last year. An independent investigation was commissioned to consider reports of inappropriate behaviour.
The SNP today released details of the investigation for the first time.
The allegations concerned three women and these were put to Mr McDonald at an interview in his solicitor’s office. Witnesses identified by Mr McDonald were also contacted. A total of 18 witnesses were interviewed.
The investigators concluded that Mr McDonald’s inappropriate behaviour had been deliberate in nature. He should have been aware that it was not appropriate for an individual in his position to be acting in such a manner. His actions included:
- inappropriate and unwanted text and social media messages;
- unwanted attention causing distress;
- persistent behaviour over an extended period of time;
- exploiting his position of power.
A further allegation of inappropriate physical contact during a social event could not be established. The SNP said while there is no intention to doubt the account of the witness, the investigators were not able to reach a definitive conclusion on this matter.
Mr McDonald’s decision means he will no longer represent the SNP but will continue in his role as an MSP as an independent.