Scotland’s Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has resigned after allegations emerged he sent hundreds of messages to a 16-year-old boy.
Mr. Mackay befriended the teenager on Facebook and Instagram and sent him 270 social media messages. The father-of-two stepped down just hours before he was due to unveil the Scottish Government’s budget for the next financial year and it will now be presented by public finance minister Kate Forbes.
Mr. Mackay said in a statement he takes “full responsibility” for his actions. “I have behaved foolishly and I am truly sorry,” the finance secretary said. “I apologise unreservedly to the individual involved and his family.
“I spoke last night with the First Minister and tendered my resignation with immediate effect. “Serving in government has been a huge privilege and I am sorry to have let colleagues and supporters down.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon accepted Mr. Mackay’s resignation and said he had made “a significant contribution to government.”
“However he recognises that his behaviour has failed to meet the standards required,” Ms. Sturgeon added.
In one message he is alleged to have asked “And our chats are between us?” and when the boy agrees told him: “Cool, then, to be honest, I think you are really cute.”
The newspaper alleges he contacted the teenager over a six-month period and offered to take him to a rugby game and out to dinner. In one of the messages the boy tells Mr. Mackay he is 16. Before Mr Mackay’s resignation, the teenager’s mother said: “A man like that is not supposed to say these sort of things to a boy.”
In 2017, then childcare minister Mark McDonald quit the Scottish Government after an investigation by the SNP accused him of “inappropriate behaviour”, which was said to include the sending of inappropriate and unwanted text and social media messages.