Scottish Daily Mail

SNP private investigat­ors probe MSP over woman in hotel bed

New complaint made against suspended former minister

- By Rachel Watson Deputy Scottish Political Editor

‘Disappeare­d in a cloak of secrecy’

SNP chiefs have called in private investigat­ors following fresh allegation­s against former childcare minister Mark McDonald.

It emerged yesterday that a young woman has complained to party bosses claiming she woke up in the MSP’s hotel room bed – but could not remember how she got there.

It is the latest allegation against Mr McDonald, who is currently suspended from the SNP and has not returned to Holyrood following the first complaint in November.

It has also been claimed that a team of private investigat­ors – including ex-detectives – have now been hired to independen­tly look into the claims.

Mr McDonald resigned from Nicola Sturgeon’s Government last year after it was revealed he had caused ‘considerab­le distress and upset’ after sending a lewd text message to a woman.

The First Minister initially gave the Aberdeen Donside MSP her backing.

However, he was later suspended from the SNP following ‘several’ fresh complaints – including allegation­s from one woman who had said she had been ‘frightened’ by the fatherof-two’s conduct.

Yesterday the Sunday Post newspaper reported that a new complaint had been reported to SNP chiefs.

The young woman involved told party bosses that she had woken up in Mr McDonald’s hotel bed, with no idea how she got there following a night out.

According to the report, Mr McDonald had told the woman that he would ‘look after her’.

There is no suggestion of any criminalit­y.

However, private investigat­ors are now looking into the allegation­s made against 37-year-old Mr McDonald. A report will then be submitted to party chiefs who will decide on the MSP’s future.

It is understood a team of solicitors are leading the independen­t investigat­ion into the case.

The latest claims come as opponents have urged the MSP to either return to work or resign as they accused the SNP of operating under a ‘cloak of secrecy’.

Labour MSP Rhoda Grant said: ‘The Mark McDonald situation is getting ridiculous. He disappeare­d in a cloak of secrecy and has been missing for three months now.

‘Serious questions need to be asked about how the SNP handled this situation. It cannot be right that the people of Aberdeen Donside have an AWOL MSP.’

Mr McDonald quit as childcare and younger years minister on November 4 after a woman complained to the SNP about a sexually suggestive text message.

He apologised for the ‘inappropri­ate’ behaviour and claimed it was a misguided attempt at humour – suggesting he may return to government in the future.

However, a week later he said his actions had caused ‘considerab­le distress and upset’ and on November 16 he was suspended from the SNP and lost the party whip following ‘several’ new complaints.

He is yet to return to the Scottish parliament, despite continuing to work as an independen­t MSP. Constituen­ts looking to speak to Mr McDonald are asked to make an appointmen­t to meet him at his office.

Yesterday Mr McDonald could not be reached for comment.

But an SNP spokesman said: ‘An independen­t investigat­ion remains ongoing.’

 ??  ?? Absent: The MSP on Friday. Left: With Nicola Sturgeon
Absent: The MSP on Friday. Left: With Nicola Sturgeon

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