Scottish Finance Secretary Derek Mackay resigns over online messages to schoolboy
Scottish Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has resigned following allegations he had sent hundreds of online messages to a 16-year-old boy.
The senior SNP minister said he had "behaved foolishly" as he announced he was stepping down just hours before he was due to deliver the Scottish government's budget at Holyrood.
According to the Scottish Sun, Mr Mackay sent 270 online messages to the boy, including some describing the teen as "really cute".
The paper alleges the 42-year-old politician, who was hotly-tipped to replace Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister, had contacted the boy out of the blue on Facebook and Instagram, asking him if he would like to attend a Scottish Rugby event in Holyrood.
But in a statement released on Thursday, Mr Mackay said he had tendered his resignation as he apologised "unreservedly" to the boy and his family.
"I take full responsibility for my actions. I have behaved foolishly and I am truly sorry," he said.
"I apologise unreservedly to the individual involved and his family.
"I spoke last night with the First Minsiter and tendered my resignation with immediate effect.
"Serving in government has been a huge privilege and I am sorry to have let down colleagues and supporters down."
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "Derek has taked full responsbility for his actions and apologises unreservedly for them to the individual involved and to those he has let down.
"He has submitted his resignation as a government minister, which I have accepted.
"Derek has made a significant contribution to government, however he recognises that his behaviour has failed to meet the standards required."
Mr Mackay is also alleged to have invited the boy to dinner in the series of messages sent between August last year and January 2020.
The boy's mother told the paper: "A man like that is not supposed to say these sort of things to a boy."