The Scottish Mail on Sunday

‘Is it OK to think co-worker looks sexy?’ His anti-harassment lessons

- By Georgia Edkins

DISGRACED Derek Mackay was sent on a taxpayer-funded sexual harassment course at the Scottish parliament – which warned about ‘power inequaliti­es’ and exploitati­on – less than a year ago.

Mr Mackay, 42, attended a ‘Culture of Respect’ workshop which was offered to all parliament workers after former SNP Minister Mark McDonald’s text scandal. Mr McDonald was forced out of the party in 2018 after he sent inappropri­ate messages.

Complaints were also made about his behaviour to a member of parliament­ary staff.

A poll after the scandal found that one in five people working at Holyrood had experience­d sexual harassment – with MSPs accused in nearly half of all cases.

As a result, Scottish parliament bosses paid a private company £50,000 to hold awareness seminars.

They claimed it was part of a programme of work to ‘influence cultural change’ in Holyrood.

Now, The Scottish Mail on Sunday can reveal the shamed former

finance secretary attended the course on Valentine’s Day last year.

As part of the seminar, Mr Mackay watched a video encouragin­g him to be ‘sensitive, aware and open to thinking in a new way’.

One scenario posed in the video clip asked: ‘Is it OK to think a coworker looks sexy in their pants? Sure, think away. But is it OK to tell that person that you think they look sexy?’

‘The advice offered is ‘No’.

He will also have viewed a presentati­on which offered guidance on ‘power and gender’.

The Scottish Government confirmed all ministers had been to the seminars for training.

 ??  ?? SHAMED: Mark McDonald was forced out of the SNP
SHAMED: Mark McDonald was forced out of the SNP

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