FORMER minister Mark McDonald has repeatedly refused to reveal the sexual misconduct which led him to resign from government and the SNP.

Facing the media on his return to Holyrood, the Aberdeen Donside MSP said he had “apologised sincerely and profusely” for his actions, and asked for a “second chance”.

He said a by-election was not the appropriate way to demonstrate he had changed, and stressed his conduct had not been “criminal”.

READ MORE: Sex row minister insists he is 'morally justified' in returning to Holyrood today

However he refused numerous times to reveal the sexual content of messages sent to women who complained about his conduct.

The 37-year-old quit as minister for childcare on November 4 after admitting to “inappropriate” behaviour, but downplayed it as a ham-fisted attempt at humour.

After a second complaint against him emerged, he was suspended from the SNP, and after a three-month party probe into his conduct, he finally quit the SNP last week.

A summary of the party’s inquiry said he had had deliberately and persistently pestered two women with “inappropriate and unwanted” messages, paid them “unwanted attention causing distress”, and was guilty of “exploiting his position of power”.

His decision to carry on as an independent MSP means he stands to collect around £200,000 in salary before the next Holyrood election 2021.

READ MORE: Sex row minister insists he is 'morally justified' in returning to Holyrood today

Nicola Sturgeon, who initially said Mr McDonald would remain a “good MSP” after he quit, has now called on him to resign from parliament, creating a by-election in Donside.

SNP MSP James Dornan, one of whose staff was off work after being harassed by Mr McDonald, has also asked Holyrood’s standards committee to investigate him.

Seen as a pariah at Holyrood, Mr McDonald is currently operating out of a basement office next to the car park after being spurned by his former SNP colleagues in the MSP block.

At a brief press conference to explain his return to parliament after a four-month absence, Mr McDonald said he had “reflected carefully” on his past behaviour and future conduct.

Asked if there were any circumstances in which he would resign, he said: “I need to demonstrate that I have learned from what happened and I have changed as a consequence of that. I’m asking people to give me that opportunity, I’m asking for that second chance to be able to demonstrate good behaviour and good conduct.”

Asked how he felt about one of his victims staying away from Holyrood on the day his return, he said it was not his intention to antagonise or upset anybody.

“I’m here to keep my head down and do the job I was elected to do,” he said.

READ MORE: Sex row minister insists he is 'morally justified' in returning to Holyrood today

On a possible return to the SNP, Mr McDonald said he was focused on doing his best to represent the constituents who elected him.

Asked if the honourable course of action was to resign and put his future in the hands of the voters, he said a by-election would not let him show his behaviour was changing.

Mr McDonald was also asked about signing a Holyrood motion in 2013 calling on former SNP MSP Bill Walker to quit Holyrood after he was convicted of domestic abuse.

Asked what was different about his case, Mr McDonald said: “Bill Walker was convicted of a criminal offence and that was the thing that led to him leaving parliament at the time.

“At no stage in this process has there been any indication or suggestion that my conduct was criminal, and that remains the case.”

Pressed to disclose the sexual content of his messages to the women he pestered, to allow voters to judge his character, Mr McDonald said: “I don’t think it would be appropriate to say here and now. I’m not seeking to hide behind the [SNP] report, but just the other say the party said they did not want people faced with the remarks that were made.

“I have held my hands up to the fact that I shouldn’t have sent the messages that I sent to the individuals. At the time, it was not my intention to cause them upset or offence.

“There are individuals I have apologised profusely to, who I’m choosing to respect in my approach to this. They are also affected by the information that is put out there, as well as myself.

“I have said to people, my conduct, as I said before, at no stage in this process, has been considered to be criminal in nature. That remains the case.

“My conduct fell below the standard that should be expected of an elected representative.

I accept that. I have asked for an opportunity to demonstrate that I have changed, and I’ve asked for an opportunity to demonstrate that I have learned from that process.

“That’s the second chance I have asked for. I hope people will give me that opportunity.

“At the end of the day I’ll be judged by others on the conduct that I demonstrate. All I ask is that people give me a fair opportunity to demonstrate that I have changed.”