McDonald must wait to discover inquiry findings
Holyrood: Standards watchdog probes MSP
Aberdeen Donside MSP Mark McDonald will have to wait another week to find out if he will be punished over harassment allegations.
Holyrood’s standards committee is believed to have met in private yesterday to discuss the findings of a probe carried out by the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland.
However, the Press and Journal understands that the group of MSPs will not deliver its verdict on any sanction for Mr McDonald – which could include suspension from Holyrood – until after it meets again on Thursday next week.
It is also understood that Mr McDonald will not be called to give evidence in front of the com- mittee. The watchdog was ordered in March to investigate a complaint made against Mr McDonald by his former colleague, Glasgow Cathcart MSP James Dornan.
The commissioner’s inquiry has concluded and it is understood that some of Mr Dornan’s evidence has been rejected, but that Mr McDonald has been found to have breached rules by sending inappropriate Twitter messages to an MSP’s staff member.
It has also highlighted poor judgment shown by Mr McDonald when he borrowed £470 from a staff member, and paid it back three weeks later.
Mr McDonald resigned from the Scottish Government in November after a complaint about his conduct, and quit the SNP in March as he admitted his behaviour had caused “hurt and offence” to two women and offered them a “public and unreserved apology”.
Yesterday, MSPs also debated plans to shake-up procedures for reporting harassment claims, following a report by the standards committee which recommended a new central policy to apply to all Holyrood workers, as well as improved training and monitoring.
Committee convener Clare Haughey said: “Change is coming. Parliament’s policies and processes must accelerate this.”
“It has also highlighted poor judgment shown by Mr McDonald”
ACCUSED: Aberdeen and Donside MSP Mark McDonald faced complaints