Ex-Finance Secretary Mackay resigns from SNP
Derek Mackay: forced to step down from Cabinet (pic: Terry Murden)
Scotland’s former finance secretary Derek Mackay has resigned from the SNP a year after he was suspended for behaving “foolishly” by messaging a 16-year-old boy on social media.
Once tipped as a potential party leader he said he was resigning to focus on his mental health and serve his constituents.
He has not attended Holyrood since the text message scandal emerged in February last year hours before he was due to deliver the Scottish budget.
It prompted the party to instigate a disciplinary inquiry while Mr Mackay remained as an independent MSP for Renfrewshire North and West.
Police Scotland said he would not face criminal charges over hundreds of messages he sent to a boy over a six-month period.
The Scottish Sun reported that Mr Mackay befriended the teenager on Facebook and Instagram and sent him 270 messages.
The force said at the time “there is nothing to suggest that an offence has been committed”.
He apologised “unreservedly” to the boy and resigned from his cabinet post.
An SNP spokesperson said today: “Derek Mackay has resigned his membership of the SNP, bringing the matter to a close.
“As was widely reported last year, Mr Mackay was receiving mental health support, and as a result disciplinary action was paused. We wish him well for his recovery.”
Scottish Conservative MSP Graham Simpson accused the SNP of “quietly” dropping its inquiry just before the election and last year called for MSPs who fail to attend parliament to be kicked out.
Mr Simpson said: “Nicola Sturgeon and her boys’ club are up to their neck in sleaze and always seem to do the wrong thing by those who make sexual complaints against their politicians.
“Just this week we heard worrying evidence of SNP MPs accused of sexual misconduct being ‘protected’ by the party.
“Mackay was very close to the Sturgeon-Murrell household and was allowed to keep raking in taxpayers’ money for over a year while not turning up at Holyrood once. This is why the SNP Government must back my Mackay’s Law proposal.
“Councillors who don’t attend for six months are kicked out – yet no such rule applies to MSPs. If they don’t do the job they’ve been elected to do, the taxpayer money tap should be turned off.”