Holyrood’s Standards Committee has recommended that shamed former minister Mark McDonald be suspended from the Scottish Parliament without pay for one month after a harassment investigation.
READ MORE - McDonald to face fresh investigation
Sleaze row MSP Mark McDonald is facing a one month ban from Holyrood after MSPs today found he was guilty of sexual harassment and disrespectful behaviour.
The former Nationalist MSP will also have his salary docked for the duration of his suspension after the sanctions were backed by Holyrood’s Standards Committee today in order to send out a “clear signal” about inappropriate behaviour. The measures will be ratified in a vote of all MSPs.
The action is being taken following a probe into McDonald’s conduct by the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life for investigation, prompted by a complaint from SNP MSP James Dornan.
Standards Committee convenor Clare Haughey said: “The Committee is unanimous in the decisions reached on the complaint.
“Firstly, it agrees with both the findings in fact and the conclusion of the Commissioner that Mark McDonald failed to treat one witness with respect, and that his conduct towards her involved sexual harassment, and that he also failed to treat a second witness with respect in relation to a financial matter.
“The Committee agrees with the Commissioner’s finding that both behaviours were in breach of the Code of Conduct for MSPs.”
She added that the at the breaches “justify the imposition of sanctions” on McDonald.
“These sanctions should send a clear signal about the seriousness of Mark McDonald’s conduct, but should not have a financial impact on his staff nor unduly impact on his ability to represent his constituents,” she added.
The sanctions will mean McDonald:
• is excluded from proceedings of the Parliament for a period of one month which will not overlap with any period of recess
• will lose his salary for a period of one month to coincide with his exclusion from proceedings of the Parliament
• will lose a right of access as a member to the Holyrood Parliamentary complex for the period of one month to coincide with his exclusion from the proceedings of the Parliament
• will lose is rights to any representational, ceremonial and related privileges until dissolution.
The sanctions will be ratified in a full vote of MSPs at Holyrood.
McDonald has already quit the SNP and his former role as Scottish Government’s Children’s minister after he allegations emerged against him. He now sits an an independent MSP at Holyrood.
A SNP investigation into Mr McDonald has already found that the Aberdeen Donside MSP sent inappropriate and unwanted text and social media messages to women. The party investigation is also said to have found that he caused distress to women through unwanted attention and exploitation of his position of power.