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New childcare minister to replace Mark McDonald revealed

Maree Todd takes over after resignation over 'inappropriate' behaviour.

Maree Todd: Worked for NHS Highland for 20 years.
Maree Todd: Worked for NHS Highland for 20 years. Scottish Parliament

The new minister for childcare and early years has been revealed as Maree Todd.

The Highlands and Islands MSP will take over from Mark McDonald, who resigned over "inappropriate" behaviour.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced her intention to promote Todd days after McDonald stepped down from the role with an apology to those he might have upset.

The MSP for Aberdeen Donside said previous behaviour he had thought "humorous or attempting to be friendly" may have made others uncomfortable as he tendered his resignation on Saturday.

Todd, a former pharmacist who grew up in the west Highlands and worked for NHS Highland for 20 years, will begin to undertake some ministerial duties immediately, subject to approval by the Scottish Parliament and the Queen.

Sturgeon said: "I am really pleased that Maree has agreed to take up the post of minister for childcare and early years.

"Improving the life chances of children and young people is at the heart of this government's agenda so this is a crucial post.

"We want to make Scotland the best place in the world to grow up and are taking forward a range of actions to achieve this."

'I know that Maree is passionate about this work and I look forward to seeing her lead this agenda.'
Nicola Sturgeon

She added: "The importance of early years development simply cannot be overstated, which is why my government is putting so much emphasis on doing all we can to ensure youngsters across Scotland can reach their full potential.

"I know that Maree is passionate about this work and I look forward to seeing her lead this agenda."

Ms Todd said: "I am honoured to be asked to carry out this important role. The early years are so crucial in shaping Scotland's next generation.

"A lot of great work has already been done and I am really looking forward to continuing to take forward policies like the baby box, the commitment to almost doubling entitlement to free early learning and childcare hours and leading celebrations for the Year of Young People 2018.

"I am relishing getting started and helping make a difference to the lives of all children in Scotland."

Parliament is expected to debate the motion on the appointment of Ms Todd on Wednesday.

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