Irem UZUN -TDO- Scotland's finance secretary, Derek Mackay, has resigned and been suspended as a member of the Scottish National party hours before he was due to deliver next year's budget after it emerged that he had been sending messages to a 16-year-old boy. The Scottish Sun published hundreds of messages that Mackay, 42, had sent the teenager, including calling him "cute", discussing the boy's new haircut, and inviting him to dinner and to a parliamentary event as his guest.
Mr. Mackay said he had "behaved foolishly" and took full responsibility for his actions. He also apologized "unreservedly" to the boy 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," he said. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she did not know about Mr. Mackay's "unacceptable" behaviour until Wednesday evening, and is "not aware of any further allegations" against him. In an emergency statement, she told the Scottish parliament his conduct was unacceptable and extremely serious. "It was clear to me Derek Mackay's conduct fell far short of what was expected of a minister," she said.
Opposition politicians said Mackay's resignation was a huge blow for Sturgeon. The Tory finance spokesman, Murdo Fraser, said he had always enjoyed working with Mackay but the former minister had acted foolishly and was right to resign. Fraser tweeted: "This is, however, a huge blow for Nicola Sturgeon to lose such a key member of her government at such a crucial time - and one tipped as her successor".