IT came from the basement. Four months ago, when he still had friends and a future, Mark McDonald occupied a rather enviable perch in the ministerial tower above Holyrood.

Now, as the Independent MSP for Aberdeen Donside, his accommodation reflects his fallen status - a freezing bunker with a matchless view of the underground car park.

His only consolation is the prospect of picking up 200 grand for doing hee haw for the next three years there.

On his first day back at the parliament since November, Mr McDonald ascended blinking into the light to confront the fourth estate and take questions about his sexual misconduct.

Not that he answered many. For at first the cellar dweller was eerily calm and robotic.

As an opening trick, he even poured a glass of water and drank it without spilling any. Look, no nerves! His recent media training was paying off.

He whined for forgiveness. He asked for a “second chance” to show he wasn’t the sex-texting pariah of popular repute.

“I’m here to keep my head down,” he said. Gurgling over his mobile phone, no doubt.

Then the questions got tougher. Why didn’t he do the honourable thing and clear off?

Because his conduct wasn’t bad enough to merit it. It wasn’t even “criminal”, he bragged.

“That remains the case,” he added, as if expecting a prize.

And what exactly did you say in those sex messages you sent the women you harassed?

“I don’t think it would be appropriate to say,” he burbled. In fact, he had chosen to keep schtum on the issue to “respect” the women he’d pestered. Eh?

By the end of his nine minutes, he looked as clammy as the wall of his dungeon.

And then he was off again, back to the dank depths with the other trolls - if they’ll have him.