Disgraced Aberdeen MSP Mark McDonald refuses to resign as pressure builds over his behaviour

Mark McDonald

Shamed former SNP MSP Mark McDonald today refused to bow to mounting pressure to resign. ​

Mr McDonald told the Evening Express he intends to sit as an independent MSP, adding that a by-election campaign would not be the way to demonstrate he has changed.

An SNP inquiry concluded he had sent inappropriate and unwanted text and social media messages to two women.

New reports have outlined a series of allegations from witnesses of “creepy” behaviour by the MSP.

This included an alleged incident in 2012, during which a woman alleged the former SNP politician attempted to kiss her.

In an interview with the Evening Express today, Mr McDonald admitted in the past he did not behave “as appropriately” as he should have done in terms of the “relationships he had with individuals”.

Mark McDonald spoke to Evening Express Political Reporter Adele Merson earlier today.

He added: “And I had believed at the time based on an ongoing professional and personal relationship that I had been able to address those issues. But clearly I was mistaken in that assumption and that’s why when I made my statement I made a full and sincere apology to the individuals concerned.”

A further allegation adds that he told the woman in a Facebook message: “You just had the misfortune to end up with an amoral a******e of an MSP who can’t maintain a professional boundary … who he finds incredibly interesting and attractive.”

When asked if this was an abuse of power, Mr McDonald said: “I made misjudgements in the past in terms of my relationship with individuals.

“I sought to try and rectify and address that at the time and believed on the basis of an ongoing professional and personal relationship that had happened but clearly it had not and I had not appreciated that and I regret that and that’s why I’ve apologised.”

However Mr McDonald categorically denied a further allegation, made by a third woman, relating to a Christmas party in 2016 where she alleged he had repeatedly squeezed her bottom, despite being warned off, and when dancing he had appeared to stumble and squeezed her chest.

He said: “The allegation in relation to the Christmas party in 2016 was demonstrated by me to be without foundation.

“I was able to present an individual who was in my company that evening who could verify my movements.

“No witness was brought forward to verify the allegation despite it supposedly happening in the middle of a Christmas party and so I said at the time during the investigation, and I say again, I entirely reject that allegation.”

He also refuted a claim that he only gave jobs to “well-endowed” women and would pay them extra money.

He added: “I think it’s offensive to the staff who work for me who are employed on the basis that they are the best people for the job and do their jobs with a great degree of diligence on behalf of the constituents of Aberdeen Donside.”

An alleged victim of the MSP has also spoken of the “devastating impact” his behaviour had on her.

She says she ended up in hospital and off work for six months because of the “pressure of having to deal with his behaviour and aftermath”.

When asked how hearing that made him feel, Mr McDonald said: “At no stage in the process either at the outset when complaints were raised nor during the investigation was this ever raised with me.

“I would have expected that to be the case if it had been raised as part of the initial complaint but I can’t comment on that on that basis.”

SNP MSP James Dornan today filed an official complaint to Holyrood asking parliamentary officials to consider removing Mr McDonald from his position.

Mr McDonald dismissed calls for a by-election and said the only way he can be judged is if given the “time and opportunity to do that”.

He added: “I’ve accepted that I have made errors of judgment and behaved in a way that was not appropriate in the past.

“I’ve apologised to the individuals concerned but I’ve also asked for the opportunity to demonstrate that I’ve learned from those errors and changed my behaviour as a result.

“And I’m not sure that a by-election campaign is the forum in which you demonstrate that.

“I think the way you demonstrate that is through continuing to work diligently on behalf of your constituents which I have done throughout.

“But also in the way in which you conduct yourself and the only way I can be judged on that is if people give me the time and the opportunity to do that.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has previously said she thinks he should step down as an MSP and trigger a by-election. Mr McDonald said he has not spoken to Ms Sturgeon or any of the leadership team of the SNP since standing down from the party.

He said: “I have not spoken to the First Minister or any of the senior representatives of the SNP.

“Nobody has been in contact with me in that regard.

“I have had some individuals from within the ranks who have made contact with me and I appreciate them having done so.”

But the Aberdeen Donside MSP would not be drawn on who had contacted him on a “private basis”.