DEREK Mackay has resigned as Scotland’s Finance Secretary following a barrage of persistent messages he sent to a 16-year-old schoolboy, including one calling him “really cute”.

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. Many were ignored by the teenager.

The messages, which were published by the Scottish Sun with some redactions to protect the identity of the boy, began on August 2, when Mr Mackay said “hey”.

A day later he is alleged to have asked for the schoolboy’s mobile number. He also asked where he stayed.

Between August 12 and August 18, Mr Mackay sent half a dozen messages until he got a response.

On September 8, he asked the teenager, who he had apparently never met, whether he followed Scottish rugby nations.

He said it was “nice to chat”, adding: “Although you might have to explain the rules of rugby to me before I go lol.”

The boy replied: “It’s really hard to explain it by text, it’s a lot easier to explain it while watching a game.”

Mr Mackay replied: “Is that an invite lol.”

When the teenager said he doesn’t have the money for that, the politician said: “I could take you?”

He then asked for the boy’s mobile number and received it. He also asked if the teenager worked.

The boy replied: “No I’m too busy with rugby and school.”

Mr Mackay said: “Ah.”

In a message which has now been deleted, the schoolboy claims Mr Mackay then revealed he is gay.

The teenager replied: “As long as your not trying anything with me I don’t mind u being gay.”

Days later, Mr Mackay asked the boy’s age and the teenager said he is 16.

On October 9, he said the boy is “welcome to come through” to the Scottish Parliament sometime.

He also suggested the teenager could help him deliver leaflets, and said he would cover the costs of the train fare.

He later asked: “You are pro-independence yeah?”

The boy replied: “Don’t really have an opinion tbh.”

Mr Mackay wrote: “But you want to help me out yeah.”

On October 17, the boy agreed to travel to Bishopton train station to help Mr Mackay deliver leaflets.

The teenager said he needed to be home before 8pm, and Mr Mackay said: “Oh you will be finished long before then.”

He added: “Unless you wanted to stay for dinner lol.”

The next day, the teenager said he would not be able to make it because “my little brother split his head open and I’m in the hospital with him”.

The politician messaged repeatedly over the next few weeks without receiving any replies, including writing: “I will stop messaging you if it’s bothering you sorry.”

Just days after this message, he continued contacting the teenager.

On November 27, Mr Mackay asked: “Would you want to go to a rugby reception in the Scottish Parliament?”

The boy said that “anything to do with rugby I’ll happily go to it”.

On December 8, Mr Mackay asked if the teenager had a busy week ahead. The boy said he had rugby and gym sessions planned.

Mr Mackay responded: “School?”

The boy replied: “Yeah school before all of that, I go straight from school to either rugby or the gym.”

Mr Mackay said the teenager is “very committed” and will “go far as a result” of his attitude.

The boy replied: “That’s what I’m hoping for.”

Mr Mackay responded: “Good lad.”

On December 13, he again raised the Scottish Rugby Union event at the Scottish Parliament, and said he will cover the boy’s transport costs.

He said the teenager could be his guest. However, the event was postponed.

On December 25, Mr Mackay wished the boy a Merry Christmas.

He also said: “Nice new haircut btw.”

At 11.34pm on Christmas Day, he messaged the youngster to ask: “You still up.”

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

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

The teenager replied: “Not at all.”

Mr Mackay then wrote: “Good. And our chats are between us?”

When the boy said they are, Mr Mackay added: “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.”

Between December 27 and January 31, Mr Mackay messaged the boy ten times without reiving a response, including saying: “Hope I didn’t offend.”

On January 31, the boy said he accidentally posted a thumbs up emoji and then deleted it.

Mr Mackay wrote: “You removed a message lol.”

The next day, he added: “What was the message?”