MSP vows to change behaviour after quitting Scottish Government role

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An MSP who quit the Scottish Government over “inappropriate” behaviour has insisted he is “determined” to change.

Mark McDonald stepped down as minister for childcare and early years as allegations over sexual misconduct in politics spread from Westminster to Holyrood.

Party bosses in the SNP have offered the Aberdeen Donside MSP “support” to help change his behaviour, with Mr McDonald confirming he has taken up that offer.

It has been reported he quit the Scottish Government because he sent a text message to a woman which included a reference to a sex act.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has already said Mr McDonald’s “behaviour was about language not physical conduct” – with the SNP leader stressing while it was “right” for him to have left the government he had not used “language that would come in anyway close to being something that would be required to be referred to the police”.

Writing in The Press and Journal newspaper, the married father of two made clear he “apologised unreservedly” for his actions.

He stated: “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.”

The 37-year-old MSP said he would return to Holyrood after a ” period of time supporting my family and serving my constituents”.

And he said it was for the people of Aberdeen Donside to decide if he should continue as an MSP in the next election in 2021.

Mr McDonald stated: ” 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.”

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