Scottish minister quits over ‘inappropriate behaviour’

LONDON – A junior minister in Scotland’s government resigned on Saturday after admitting “inappropriate behaviour”, as a sleaze scandal in British politics showed no sign of abating. Childcare minister Mark McDonald said in a statement that he apologised “unreservedly to anyone I have upset or who might have found my behaviour inappropriate”.

“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,” he said.

A government spokesman confirmed McDonald had tendered his resignation to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon earlier Saturday. He is expected to remain a lawmaker in the Scottish parliament, representing Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party in Aberdeen.

Several claims of harassment and abuse have emerged against British politicians in the wake of the allegations by dozens of women against Hollywood tycoon Harvey Weinstein.

On Wednesday, Michael Fallon resigned as defence secretary, saying his behaviour in the past had “fallen below the high standards” expected of the role. He had previously apologised for touching a journalist’s knee 15 years ago. Another journalist alleged late Saturday that Fallon “lunged” at her, trying to kiss her, after a lunch in 2003.

Jane Merrick, who was a junior political reporter at the time, wrote in The Observer she did not report him because she “feared making enemies”. But after other allegations emerged, she informed May’s Downing Street office of what happened — and less than three hours later, he resigned.

Two other ministers are under investigation for allegations of impropriety, while the opposition Labour party is also investigating the behaviour of a number of its lawmakers. Labour’s foreign affairs spokeswoman, Emily Thornberry, told the BBC: “Some of the things that I have heard in the last week have been so disgusting and I am ashamed that this could happen in the Labour party.”

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