POLICE are looking into the circumstances that led Derek Mackay to resign from one of the top jobs in the Scottish Government.

Mr Mackay, tipped as the next SNP leader, quit after it was revealed he had been messaging a 16 year-old schoolboy over a period of seven months.

He had told the boy he was “cute” and offered to pay to take him to a rugby match after the boy said he couldn’t afford to go.

In one message he asked if the messages were private and even invited him to dinner.

Mr Mackay offered his resignation to Nicola Sturgeon on Wednesday night when it became clear it was to be reported.

Ms Sturgeon accepted and a spokesman said if he hadn’t resigned she would have sacked him.

When asked by reporters if there should be a police investigation, the First Minister said: “It would be deeply wrong for me to direct the police, that’s a matter for the police to decide.”

She said the behaviour was “unacceptable”.

Glasgow Times:

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We have not received any complaint of criminality, however, we are currently assessing available information from media reporting and would encourage anyone with information to please come forward.

“Police Scotland will always listen to anyone who wishes to seek advice or formally report a matter to us.”

Mr Mackay, 42, said his actions had been “foolish” and he apologised to the boy and his family.

Labour leader, Richard Leonard, said the actions were not foolish but “predatory”.

He said: “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.”

Mr Mackay, 42, is alleged to have sent 270 messages on Instagram and Facebook between August 2 last year and February 1.

They continued even after the boy revealed he was still in school, and then later said he was 16.

Mr Mackay replied “ah” but the messaging continued, including on Christmas Day.

At 11.34pm on Christmas Day, the cabinet minister messaged the boy to ask: “You still up.”

In the early hours of December 27, in another conversation Mr Mackay again says: “You are looking good with that new haircut.”

He called the boy “cute”, adding: “You don’t mind compliments.”

The teenager replies: “Not at all.”

At one point, Mr Mackay asks “And our chats are between us?” When the teenager said yes he then sent one that read: “Cool, to be honest I think you are really cute.

“Is that ok? Just as long as you know, but you can delete that message lol.”

Ms Sturgeon said he had been suspended from the SNP and an investigation would take place. She said: “I want to make clear I do not condone in any shape or form conduct of this nature.”

Responding to questions at Holyrood she said: “I think the conduct is unacceptable and I will not make any attempt to say otherwise or to minimise in any way its seriousness.

“Based on what I knew about this last night, it was clear to me then that Derek Mackay’s conduct fell far short of what is expected of a minister.

“Indeed, he offered his resignation to me and I accepted. It was not an option for him to remain in Government.”