A leading politician in Scotland has resigned his position in the country’s government. He was the Finance Secretary.
Derek Mackay – tipped as a potential future leader of the SNP (Scottish National Party) – was due to deliver his high-profile budget report today. However, just after midnight, the Scottish Sun published dozens of text messages Mackay, 42, is alleged to have sent a 16-year-old boy.
In the messages, Mackay offers to take the boy out to dinner and a rugby match. The newspaper says he sent over 250 messages via Instagram and Facebook after contacting the boy out of the blue last August. It says he sent several messages on Christmas Day.
In one message, Mackay is alleged to ask the boy: “Are our chats between us?”
The boy replied, “Yeahh.”
Mackay then says, “Cool, to be honest, I think you are really cute.”
This was immediately followed by another message from Mackay reading, “Just as long as you know, but you can delete that message, lol.”
In another message he compliments the boy on his haircut, again calling him, “cute.”
The messaging continued up until early this week. Early on in the exchanges, the boy told Mackay he was 16 and asked him, “not to try anything.”
The youngster says he began to lie to come up with excuses not to meet up with the politician. He told the newspaper he became “grossed out” by the politician’s compliments and decided to tell his mom.
Mackay came out as gay in 2013 after leaving his wife of 12 years. He is the father of two children and lives with his boyfriend near Glasgow.
On hearing about the story being published, Mackay immediately quit his position as a cabinet minister.
In a statement, he said: “I take full responsibility for my actions. I have behaved foolishly and I am truly sorry. I apologize 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.”
The leader of the SNP, and Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, accepted his resignation from her cabinet.
She said in a statement: “Derek has made a significant contribution to government, however he recognizes that his behavior has failed to meet the standards required.”
Although quitting his cabinet position, it is not known yet whether Mackay intends to remain a member of the Scottish Parliament.