The Scottish Government’s finance secretary has been accused of sending hundreds of inappropriate text messages to a schoolboy - just hours before he is due to reveal the country’s budget.

Derek Mackay is alleged to have called the 16-year-old ‘cute’ in one of around 270 private messages sent between the pair over social media platforms Facebook and Instagram during a six-month exchange.

The 42-year-old was accused of “targeting” the teenager and reportedly contacted him on Christmas Day despite knowing the boy’s age.

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Mr Mackay was due to deliver the Government’s £43 billion spending plans at Holyrood on Thursday.

The Scottish Sun reported the interactions began last August when Mr Mackay contacted the teenager out of the blue.

He is said to have asked “Are our chats between us?” before telling the teen: “I think you are really cute.”

He is also alleged to have asked the youngster to help him deliver campaign leaflets and offered to let him ‘stay for dinner’ afterwards.

The schoolboy’s mum has called on Nicola Sturgeon to sack the finance chief and launch a full investigation.

She told the newspaper: “A man like that is not supposed to say these sort of things to a boy.”

““If I could speak to him, I would ask him ‘Why? Why did you do this?’

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“I worry about what would have happened if my son had sent him back a message he wanted to hear.

“You can see he tries again and again — like he is trying to get my son to change his mind about something. He is trying to see how much he can push it.”

Mr Mackay, a father of two, came out as gay in 2013 after separating from his wife.