A NORTH MSP has been appointed Scotland’s new minister for children after the predecessor in the post stepped down over "inappropriate actions".
Highlands and Islands MSP Maree Todd will take over the reigns as childcare and early years minister immediately, subject to approval by the Scottish Parliament and the Queen.
The former pharmacist replaces Mark McDonald, who resigned from the role after complaints about his behaviour amid the growing sexual harassment and abuse scandal sweeping UK politics.
Neither he or the SNP have explained what the actions are but in a statement the Aberdeen Donside MSP said attempts to be "humorous and friendly" made people feel uncomfortable.
Ms Todd, who was elected as a list MSP in May 2016, 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."
The former Ullapool High School pupil worked for NHS Highland for 20 years prior to election, mainly as a mental health pharmacist at New Craigs Hospital in Inverness.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon commended Ms Todd’s passion, saying: "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.
"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."