SNP minister resigns amid allegations he sent 16-year-old hundreds of social media messages
The father-of-two stepped down just hours before he was due to announce the Scottish Budget for 2020-21.
The Scottish Sun reported Mr Mackay befriended the teenager on Facebook and Instagram and sent him 270 messages.
In one message he is alleged to have asked “And our chats are between us?” and when the boy agreed, the minister 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.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed she has accepted Mr Mackay’s resignation, and said public finance minister Kate Forbes will now deliver the Budget statement instead.
Mr Mackay, who came out as gay in 2013, said: “I take full responsibility for my actions. I have behaved foolishly and I am truly sorry.
“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.”
Ms Sturgeon said: “Derek has taken full responsibility 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.
“The minister for public finance, Kate Forbes, will present today’s Scottish Government Budget, setting out our actions to support the economy, back our people and public services and tackle the climate crisis, and that remains my Government’s focus.”
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.
Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2020, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Jane Barlow / PA Wire.