Keith Brown: 'difficult to see' how Derek Mackay can continue as an MSP
It is "very difficult" to see how Derek Mackay can continue as an MSP, SNP depute leader Keith Brown has said.
Mackay was forced to resign as finance secretary and was then suspended from the SNP, pending an investigation, after reports emerged he had sent hundreds of messages to a 16-year-old boy.
But there is no recall process within the Scottish Parliament, except if a member is given a custodial sentence of 12 months or more, meaning MSPs cannot force Mackay to step down.
Speaking on the BBC's Politics Scotland, Brown said the boy’s welfare was being treated "very seriously" by the Scottish Government and the First Minister, but that the party had no control over whether Mackay stepped down as MSP for Renfrewshire North and West.
He said: "I think it's very difficult to see how he can continue but it is his decision."
He added: "As for Derek Mackay's own future, that's something that only he can decide. It is not something over which the SNP or the government have any control.
"As things stand Derek Mackay is a suspended member of the SNP and there will be a process through which we will have to go and I think it's better that I don't comment on that just now. "
The Sun reported that Mackay told the 16-year-old he was "cute" as well as offering to take him to a rugby game and out to dinner.
In a statement, Mackay 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 down colleagues and supporters down."