Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon suspended Finance Minister Derek Mackay after allegations were made that he sent series of messages to a 16-year-old boy. Answering to a number of questions regarding Mackay’s behaviour in the devolved Parliament, Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Sturgeon said that Finance Minister has apologised unreservedly for his conduct.
Sturgeon told Parliament that Mackay has recognised that such behaviour was unacceptable and falls seriously below the standard required of a minister. The SNP leader further added that the Mackay has been suspended from the SNP and the parliamentary group, pending further investigation.
The 42-year-old leader, who came out as gay and separated from his wife in 2013, faced severe backlash after a Scottish Sun tabloid published his messages to the schoolboy from August 2 last year till February 1. He had to resign hours before delivering an address to the Parliament with the announcement of the government’s budget.
Mackay, in a statement, said that he takes full responsibility for his actions and acknowledged that he behaved “foolishly”. He confirmed that he had spoken to the first minister over the issue and tendered resignation with immediate effect. Mackay further added that serving in government has been a huge privilege for him and was sorry to have let colleagues and supporters down.
“I am truly sorry. I apologise unreservedly to the individual involved and his family,” said Mackay.
The Scottish newspaper had reported that the SNP leader, who was touted as a possible successor to Sturgeon, sent around 270 social media messages to the schoolboy over a period of six months after befriending him on Facebook and Instagram. According to one of the messages, allegedly sent by Mackay, the leader asked, “And our chats are between us?”. After getting a reply in affirmative, he said, “Cool, then to be honest I think you are really cute”.
(With inputs from agencies)