Mark McDonald (politician)

Mark McDonald
MSP, MA, MLitt
Minister for Childcare and Early Years
Assumed office
18 May 2016
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
Preceded by Aileen Campbell
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Aberdeen Donside
Assumed office
20 June 2013
Preceded by Brian Adam
Majority 11,630
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for North East Scotland
In office
5 May 2011  14 May 2013
Succeeded by Christian Allard
Personal details
Born (1980-06-07) 7 June 1980
Inverurie, Aberdeenshire
Nationality British
Political party Scottish National Party
Spouse(s) Louise
Children 1 son, 1 daughter
Residence Dyce, Aberdeen
Alma mater University of Dundee
University of Aberdeen
(Scottish Parliament)

Mark McDonald (born 7 June 1980) is a Scottish politician who is the Minister for Childcare and Early Years in the Scottish Parliament. He is the Scottish National Party (SNP) Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the Aberdeen Donside constituency.[1] He previously represented the North East Scotland region between 5 May 2011 and 14 May 2013.

Education and early career

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. He was elected to Aberdeen City Council in 2007 at the age of 26 representing the Dyce/Bucksburn/Danestone ward having unsuccessfully contested a 2004 Local Authority by-election in the city. McDonald stood as SNP candidate for Aberdeen South in the 2010 UK general election coming fourth in the poll.

Scottish Parliament

McDonald was elected to the Scottish Parliament in the 2011 election from the North East Scotland regional list [2] 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 grotty jeans and a T-shirt[2] (this was not McDonald's first unexpected appearance, following the infamous occasion in 1993 when he acted as a last minute replacement for Roy Hattersley on Have I Got News For You). 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,[3] which was passed unanimously by the Scottish Parliament on 28 March 2013,[4] making McDonald's bill the first Members' Bill to pass in the current Parliamentary session.

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.[5] McDonald held the seat for the SNP with a reduced majority and was returned to the Scottish Parliament on 20 June 2013.[6]

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 May 18th 2016, McDonald was appointed to serve as Minister for Childcare & Early Years.

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.


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