McDon­ald must wait to dis­cover in­quiry find­ings

Holy­rood: Stan­dards watch­dog probes MSP

The Press and Journal (North-East) - - NEWS - BY CALUM ROSS

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

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