Sex row former Scots minister's resignation payout criticised by MSPs

16 February 2018, 19:15

Mark McDonald MSP

MSPs are calling for a reform of Holyrood payments after a former Scottish Government minister who quit over alleged sexual misconduct is in line for a golden goodbye of more than £7,000.

Mark McDonald is entitled to a resettlement grant of £7,270 - a quarter of his salary as Childcare and Early Years Minister.

The MSP resigned from the government on November 4 following reports he had sent a text message to a woman which included a reference to a sex act.

The payment comes into force 90 days after resignation, as stipulated in the Scottish Parliamentary Pensions Act 2009.

Scottish Conservative deputy chief whip Alexander Burnett called for the resettlement grants scheme to be overhauled.

He said: "It's clearly wrong that Mark McDonald should pocket this payment considering the circumstances of his departure.

"It's important we look at these processes again to ensure this isn't repeated. The public's view of the parliament as a whole would worsen otherwise."

Labour MSP Rhoda Grant told The Herald: "This is unacceptable. It cannot be right that a minister who has resigned in such circumstances has effectively received a bonus from the taxpayer.

"If Mark McDonald has received this money, he must immediately return it or donate it to a charity such as Women's Aid. Parliament must also urgently review the law."

Following his resignation as a Minister, the Aberdeen Donside MSP was suspended by the SNP after further allegations surfaced about his conduct.

A Scottish Parliamentary spokeswoman said: "Any change to the Scottish Parliamentary Pensions Act 2009 would ultimately be a matter for all MSPs."

A SNP spokesman said: "Mr McDonald is currently suspended from the SNP. An independent investigation is ongoing and it would be inappropriate to comment further."

Mr McDonald could not be contacted.