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Brown hints at Forbes elevation into Mackay’s job

Kate Forbes

Kate Forbes: impressive performance

SNP depute leader Keith Brown dropped a strong hint that Kate Forbes will replace the disgraced Derek Mackay as Finance Secretary.

Mr Brown, interviewed on a television politics programme, was asked if he was in the reckoning to replace Mr Mackay.

He replied: “Everybody saw how well Kate Forbes handled the Budget”.

Public Finance and Digital Economy minister Ms Forbes was called late on Wednesday night and told she would be delivering the Budget on Thursday after Mr Mackay resigned over a series of social media messages to a 16-year-old boy.

Mr Brown added that he thought it would be “very difficult” for Mr Mackay to continue as an MSP but said any decision for him to quit as the MSP for Renfrewshire North and West would have to come from Mr Mackay.

He said politicians across Holyrood were shocked by Mr Mackay’s behaviour.

“You could see the shock on people, not just the SNP but other parties as well,” he said.

Ms Forbes won praise for a confident performance, not only in presenting the statement but in her handling of robust questions from opposition MSPs.

The 29-year-old Highlander has only been an MSP since 2016 and became the first woman to present a Budget at Holyrood or Westminster, and also the youngest.

As a junior minister in Mr Mackay’s department she has already made her mark and his fall from grace may provide an earlier than expected opportunity for elevation to the top job.

Police Scotland has confirmed having spoken to the schoolboy who was sent hundreds of messages by Mr Mackay.

While it had not “received any complaint of criminality”, it was “assessing available information”.

Mr Mackay admitted he had acted “foolishly”.

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Comment: Forbes ready and able to step into Mackay’s shoes

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