I accept the findings of the Independent Expert Panel and the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards in full and without reservation. On
I was wrong to make assumptions about the social and personal relationships that existed or had the potential to exist between myself and the complainant, and wrong to act on those assumptions. Blurring personal and professional boundaries in a work environment can be highly problematic, causing confusion, embarrassment, upset and distress, and I should have been aware of that. I should have been far more cognisant of the significant age gap of 17 years between myself and the complainant, and I should have been far more appreciative of the perceptions other people have of me as an elected representative and the real and perceived power that we hold.
I apologise to the complainant without reservation for my behaviour and for the distress and upset it has caused him. Since the incident in 2016, I have participated in bespoke and generic training, which has helped me to reflect more fully on my behaviour, its impact on others and the steps I must take to ensure it is not repeated. That has had a significant impact on my awareness and understanding of my responsibility towards others, especially those who see me in a position of power or authority. It has helped me to better understand how perceptions of my status by others will have changed following my election to Parliament and how that requires different approaches on my part to professional and social environments and situations.
Mr Speaker, I am profoundly sorry for my behaviour and I deeply regret my actions and their consequences. Any breach of the behaviour code and associated policies risks bringing this House into disrepute and will cause distress and upset not just to the complainant, but to the wider parliamentary community. I give you and this House my firm assurance that I have learned significant lessons through this process, and a firm undertaking that such behaviour on my part will never happen again.
I repeat my apology without reservation to the complainant, and extend that apology to you, Mr Speaker, to this House and its staff, to the residents of Glasgow North, my constituency staff, local party members, family, friends and anyone else who has been affected by my behaviour in any way.