Mark McDonald: ‘For my apology to mean anything, I must change my behaviour’

Mark McDonald MSP

I have spent a lot of time over the last week thinking and reflecting.

Understandably, there has been speculation about my reasons for resigning, particularly over the exact nature of my conduct.

After a week of reflection, and having talked to my family and friends, I wanted to set out publicly my decision to resign as a minister and, crucially, what I intend to do from here.

First though, let me say it is important at this time that people, and particularly women, come forward with their experiences.

In doing so, this should be dealt with in a manner which they are comfortable, and just as importantly, at a pace that they are comfortable with. They must be able to do so in confidence, and in a way that does not see any information revealed which they do not wish to be revealed. And that’s why there is a limit to how much detail I will ever go into about my own situation. This is an approach which I hope puts their interests first and foremost.

Last weekend, it was brought to my attention that actions of mine had caused considerable distress and upset. Regardless of context or intent, I accept full responsibility for my actions, and any consequences of them. There is no excuse and never should there be.

I have apologised unreservedly and I do so again. I am sorry.

There is no question in my mind that in making my apology it was also right for me to resign from my role as a government minister.

I need to go further than that though. For my apology to mean anything I must also commit to changing my behaviour and to taking more care in my actions and my language. I am determined to do that.

I have been offered support through the SNP to help me understand more about the way I behaved, the impact it had upon others and how I can work to ensure my behaviour does change. I have accepted that offer of support. As has been said by many others, it is change in behaviour across the board which is the required outcome from this issue.

My constituency office is open as usual and, following a period of time supporting my family and serving my constituents, I will return to my parliamentary duties in Edinburgh.

I will continue to serve the people of Aberdeen Donside as their constituency MSP. It will be for my constituents to decide at the next election whether or not they wish for me to continue in that role.

While there is clearly a public interest in my behaviour, I would ask that the privacy and welfare of my family, my staff and constituents visiting my constituency office are respected.

Ultimately I will be judged by others on whether I can change my behaviour to meet the very high standards that people rightly demand of their politicians. I can only ask that I be given that chance.