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Shamed MSP insists he does not want to ‘antagonise’ on Holyrood return

Independent MSP Mark McDonald asked for a second chance on his first day back at the Scottish Parliament.

Shamed former minister Mark McDonald has insisted he does not want to “antagonise or upset” anyone with his return to Holyrood.

The Aberdeen Donside MSP begged to be given a second chance and promised to keep his head down during a press conference on his return to the Scottish Parliament.

Mr McDonald quit his ministerial role and the SNP after admitting inappropriate behaviour towards women but intends to sit as an independent MSP despite calls for his resignation.

He was asked how it made him feel that one of his victims had felt unable to come in to work at the parliament due to his presence there.

I am not coming back to parliament to antagonise anybody or to upset anybody.

The MSP replied: “I have said throughout this process and I will say again I am not coming back to parliament to antagonise anybody or to upset anybody.

“I am coming back to do the job that I was elected to do on behalf of my constituents, to represent their interests.

“I’m here to keep my head down and do the job that I was elected to do.

“I’m not here to cause any upset or antagonism for people and that is the approach that I will be taking.”

He insisted he did not believe resigning and causing a by-election was the right thing to do.

The married father-of-two said: “I want to be able to demonstrate the reflections that I’ve undertaken and the commitment I’ve made to improve my conduct and behaviour going forward.

“I don’t think a by election campaign affords that opportunity to demonstrate that fully to people.”

He denied he was “hiding behind” the independent report produced following an internal SNP investigation to avoid discussing the details of what he had done.

Mr McDonald said: “I’ve not been given a copy of the report that was produced.

“I had findings placed in front of me which were then taken away from me  and I was not given them to take away.

“There has been speculation ongoing, there has been information leaked  from other sources. I have chosen not to comment during that process.

“I don’t think it would be appropriate for me here and now to say to you this was what was said.”

Mr McDonald has been allocated a temporary office in the parliament’s upper basement near the car park doors, on the opposite side to the nearest staff offices.

He has been absent from Holyrood since allegations were first made against him in November last year.

SNP MSP James Dornan has lodged a formal complaint over his return, stating the presence of his ex-party colleague would be a “clear negation” of the duty of care the Scottish Parliament has to its staff.

The SNP investigation into allegations made by three women identified “persistent” behaviour including inappropriate and unwanted text messages, unwanted attention and exploiting his position of power.

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