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Mark McDonald (born 7 June 1980) is a Scottish politician and is the Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the Aberdeen Donside constituency, having previously represented the North East Scotland region between 5 May 2011 and 14 May 2013.[2] Formerly a Scottish National Party politician and Minister for Childcare and Early Years in the Scottish Government, he was suspended by the SNP on 16 Nov 2017[3] following allegations of inappropriate behaviour against several women.[4] Following a party investigation, the claims were substantiated and McDonald issued an apology on 6 March 2018, announcing he had now left the SNP and would sit in the Scottish Parliament as an Independent.[5]

Mark McDonald

Minister for Childcare and Early Years
In office
18 May 2016 – 4 November 2017
First MinisterNicola Sturgeon
Preceded byAileen Campbell
Succeeded byMaree Todd
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Aberdeen Donside
Assumed office
20 June 2013
Preceded byBrian Adam
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for North East Scotland
In office
5 May 2011 – 14 May 2013
Succeeded byChristian Allard
Personal details
Born (1980-06-07) 7 June 1980 (age 39)
Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Political partyIndependent (2018-)
Other political
Scottish National Party (until 2018)
Spouse(s)Louise (separated)
Children1 son, 1 daughter
ResidenceDyce, Aberdeen
Alma materUniversity of Dundee
University of Aberdeen
CommitteesNone [1]

Education and early careerEdit

McDonald was educated at Dyce Primary School and Dyce Academy. He gained an MA in Politics from the University of Dundee (2002) and an MLitt in Strategic Studies from the University of Aberdeen (2003). From 2003 to 2011 he worked as a Parliamentary Assistant to MSPs Richard Lochhead, Maureen Watt, and Nigel Don. In 2004, he unsuccessfully contested a Local Authority by-election. He stood as the SNP candidate for Aberdeen South in the 2010 UK general election coming fourth in the poll.

Aberdeen City CouncilEdit

McDonald was elected to Aberdeen City Council in 2007 at the age of 26 representing the Dyce/Bucksburn/Danestone ward. Twelve days later his colleagues elected him as vice-convener of the housing and environment committee and he was appointed the deputy leader of the SNP group on the council.[6]

Scottish ParliamentEdit

McDonald was elected to the Scottish Parliament in the 2011 election from the North East Scotland regional list [7] with the SNP taking 52.71% of the vote. As the Scottish National Party had already won all ten constituency seats in the region, it came as a surprise to McDonald, who famously appeared at the declaration wearing jeans and a T-shirt.[7] He made his maiden speech on 2 June 2011 during a debate on Green Energy. McDonald has been a member of many committees in the parliament, but most recently sat on the Finance Committee and the Devolution & Further Powers Committee. In addition, he served on a number of Cross Party Groups (CPGs) including Oil & Gas, Carers, Epilepsy and Mental Health (which he co-convenes). He served as a Parliamentary Liaison Officer to the Deputy First Minister, John Swinney having previously been Parliamentary Liaison Officer to Alex Salmond during his tenure as First Minister.

In September 2011, McDonald announced he was to bring forward a Member's Bill on High Hedge Disputes,[8] which was passed unanimously by the Scottish Parliament on 28 March 2013,[9] making McDonald's bill the first Members' Bill to pass in the Parliamentary session.

McDonald has been a keen advocate for individuals on the autistic spectrum, leading members debates on the issue and asking questions of the Scottish Government. He has been a member of the Scotland Advisory Committee of the National Autistic Society and a trustee of the charity, Friendly Access, which looks to create a more accessible environment for individuals with sensory disabilities.

Following the death of Brian Adam in April 2013, Mark McDonald was selected as the SNP candidate for Aberdeen Donside and resigned his seat as a North East Scotland Region MSP to fight the by-election.[10] McDonald held the seat for the SNP with a reduced majority and was returned to the Scottish Parliament on 20 June 2013.[11]

In the 2016 Scottish Parliament election, McDonald contested the seat and was successfully re-elected winning 56% of the vote and increasing the SNP majority to 11,630 - the largest majority in the whole of Scotland.

Following the Scottish Government reshuffle on 18 May 2016, McDonald was appointed to serve as Minister for Childcare & Early Years.

Resignation From the SNPEdit

McDonald tendered his resignation as minister on 4 November 2017 following the announcement by the SNP that he was being investigated for misconduct in the wake of the 2017 Westminster sexual scandals, saying "It has been brought to my attention that some of my previous actions have been considered to be inappropriate - where I have believed myself to have been merely humorous or attempting to be friendly, my behaviour might have made others uncomfortable or led them to question my intentions."[4]

Two weeks later, McDonald was suspended from the SNP pending an internal investigation. After that investigation substantiated the charges, McDonald announced that he had resigned from the SNP ahead of a group meeting to decide on reinstating him. However, he intended to remain at Holyrood as an independent, despite all major parties in the chamber urging him to stand down.[5]

On 21 June 2018 the parliament's standards committee recommended McDonald be suspended without pay for a month.[12]

Personal lifeEdit

McDonald was married to Louise, who he met while they were both students at Dundee University. In August 2019 it was reported that the couple had separated but remained friends.[13]

Outside InterestsEdit

A keen runner, McDonald announced in July 2019 that he was running the Chicago Marathon in October the same year to raise money for a local charity in the North East of Scotland.[14]


  1. ^ "Mark McDonald". 5 June 2016. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  2. ^ The Scottish Parliament - Current Members - Mark McDonald Archived 10 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "SNP suspends former government minister". 16 November 2017 – via
  4. ^ a b "SNP minister quits over 'previous actions'". 4 November 2017 – via
  5. ^ a b "Mark McDonald quits SNP but continues as MSP". BBC News. 6 March 2018. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  6. ^ Rhodes, Mandy (22 November 2016). "Mark McDonald: support parents and start early". Holyrood. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Scottish election: Major SNP election success in north east of Scotland". Aberdeen. 6 May 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  8. ^ "MSP Mark McDonald makes bid to tackle 'hedge rage'". BBC News. 8 September 2011.
  9. ^ "Holyrood passes High Hedges Bill to settle neighbourhood disputes | Politics | News | STV". News. 28 March 2013. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  10. ^ "Previous MSPs: Session 4: McDonald, Mark". Scottish Parliament. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  11. ^ Taylor, Brian (21 June 2013). "SNP's Mark McDonald wins Aberdeen Donside by-election". BBC News.
  12. ^ "MSP faces month suspension over harassment". BBC News. 21 June 2018. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  13. ^ "Sleaze shame MSP splits from wife and moves back in with his mum".
  14. ^ "Aberdeen MSP gives charity leg up as he puts fitness to test with Chicago marathon".

External linksEdit