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Latest updates as poll finds only 15% of people believe PM fully ‘got Brexit done’

Nicola Sturgeon accused of ‘failure of leadership’ over Mackay scandal

Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of a failure of leadership over the resignation of Derek Mackay, the Scottish finance secretary, who resigned over reports that he had sent 270 messages to a 16-year-old boy.

Mr Mackay, who has now been suspended from the SNP pending investigation, quit as finance secretary on Thursday morning, hours before he was due to deliver the Scottish Budget to Holyrood.

It has been reported that the MSP called the boy “cute” and offered to take him out to dinner.

Interim Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw has claimed there has been a “collective failure of leadership” from Ms Sturgeon, the first minister, and SNP business convener Kirsten Oswald after the story emerged.

“Nicola Sturgeon, when asked yesterday in the Scottish parliament if she had sought assurances from Derek Mackay that the story reported was an isolated incident, replied merely that she was unaware of any other potential victims,” Mr Carlaw said.

“It is now clear that no such assurances were sought from Mr Mackay by the first minister, given there are other people coming forward.”

He added: “From the start, it seems the SNP government has been more interested in protecting its own reputation than in the welfare of potential and actual victims.”

Mr Mackay accepted in his resignation statement that he had “behaved foolishly” and apologised unreservedly to the teenage boy and his family.

“I take full responsibility for my actions. I have behaved foolishly and I am truly sorry,” he said.

Ms Sturgeon said the MSP had recognised that his conduct was “unacceptable and falls seriously below the standard required of a minister.”

An SNP spokesperson said: “Derek Mackay has been suspended from both the parliamentary group and the party while further investigation takes place.

“In the interests of due process, no further comment will be made.”

Additional reporting by PA

Source: PA

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