PRESSURE is mounting on Renfrewshire MSP Derek Mackay to stand down following allegations he sent inappropriate messages to a schoolboy. 

The father-of-two resigned from his senior Scottish Government post as Finance Secretary this morning, just hours before he was due to announce the Scottish Budget for 2020-21.

It followed claims by The Scottish Sun the Renfrewshire North and West man befriended the 16-year-old on Facebook and Instagram and sent him 270 messages.

READ MORE: Derek Mackay suspended by SNP after schoolboy message scandal

Mr Mackay was today suspended by the SNP as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon promised to conduct an investigation into the incident. 

He remains in his role as MSP for Renfrewshire North and West for now, a position he has held since 2011.  

Richard Leonard, leader of the Scottish Labour Party, is among those calling for Mr Mackay to step down from his position. 

The Gazette: Richard Leonard, the Scottish Labour leader, has called for Mr Mackay to stand down as an MSP Richard Leonard, the Scottish Labour leader, has called for Mr Mackay to stand down as an MSP

Mr Leonard, who made the point during First Minister's Questions today, said: "Whilst his suspension from the SNP is welcome, he (Derek Mackay) should go as a member of this parliament."

He later added: "Derek Mackay has acted beyond ‘foolishly’, his actions are predatory and must be thoroughly investigated. He has abused his position of power with a vulnerable adolescent.

“The thoughts of everyone at Scottish Labour are with the schoolboy involved and his family.

“The nature and the gravity of these allegations demands decisive action."

In one message Mr Mackay is alleged to have asked “And our chats are between us?” and when the boy agreed, the SNP man 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.

West of Scotland MSP Maurice Golden said: “I was shocked and saddened to learn the revelations regarding Derek Mackay.

“While Renfrewshire is consistently let down by SNP policies, Derek Mackay has remained a hard working constituency MSP.

“I hope the boy at the centre of the scandal is receiving any support he needs in what must be a traumatic time for him and his family.”

The scandal is a blow to Mr Mackay's political ambitions with the Bishopton resident long tipped to succeed Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister. 

The Gazette: Derek Mackay has long been tipped to succeed Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister Derek Mackay has long been tipped to succeed Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister

The former Renfrew High School pupil first entered politics when he joined the SNP as a 16-year-old, before he became the then youngest serving male councillor after being elected in 1999 at just 21. 

Mr Mackay served as Renfrewshire Council leader between 2007 and 2011, when he made the switch to MSP for Renfrewshire North and West and was named as Minister for Local Government and Planning. 

He later became Minister for Transport and Islands before stepping up to Finance Secretary in 2016. 

READ MORE: Derek Mackay resigns post after bombarding boy, 16, with messages

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.”

Read all the latest from Renfrewshire and beyond