Tearful north-east MSP Mark McDonald used his last speech at Holyrood to apologise for “poor decisions” in a harassment scandal which forced him from government.
The Aberdeen Donside member drew attention to his campaigns to make society more accessible to people with autism. But he told a hushed debating chamber he will also be remembered for other reasons.
“I recognise I have made poor decisions in my life,” he said. “And while I have never set out deliberately to cause upset to anyone, the fact people felt hurt and upset by my actions causes me immense regret and sorrow.
“While I have apologised sincerely for those actions, I want to take the opportunity to do so in this chamber. I’m sorry.”
Mr McDonald quit Nicola Sturgeon’s government and was effectively banished from the SNP in 2017. He had admitted causing a woman “considerable distress” through inappropriate text messages.
A probe by the party found he sent inappropriate and unwanted text messages and had “exploited” his position of power.
‘I wish the ending had been a happier one’
He signaled last year his intention to step down at the next Holyrood election.
Speaking during a budget debate on Tuesday evening, Mr McDonald said he had changed and asked people to “take him as he now is”.
He said his family had “pulled him back from the edge of darkness”.
Mr McDonald added: “While I wish the ending had been a happier one, may I sincerely and universally wish everyone good luck, good health and good bye.”