A TOP SNP politician has condemned “totally unacceptable” grooming behaviour in the wake of the Derek Mackay scandal.

Joanna Cherry, the party’s justice spokeswoman in Westminster, said Nicola Sturgeon was right to accept Mr Mackay’s resignation as Finance Secretary and suspend him from the SNP.

Mr Mackay, 42, bombarded a 16-year-old schoolboy with persistent online messages, including one calling him “really cute”.

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

Ms Cherry tweeted: “Grooming behaviour is totally unacceptable & must be condemned without fear or favour.

“The First Minister was right to accept Derek Mackay's resignation & suspend him.

“The party’s disciplinary procedures must now take their course.”

Scottish Tory stand-in leader Jackson Carlaw said Mr Mackay’s “grooming-style behaviour” was “completely disgraceful”.

He said it was “hard to see how he can continue with the confidence of parliament and his constituents as an MSP”.

He added: “Notwithstanding Nicola Sturgeon’s response in the chamber, the Scottish Government must be more proactive in reaching out and providing appropriate support to the boy and his family.

“It’s also important that the Scottish Government and the SNP make every effort to find out if this is the only example of Mr Mackay behaving in this manner.

“If there are other victims, they too will need the support of authorities.”

Police Scotland confirmed they are looking into the background of Mr Mackay’s resignation and appealed for information from the public.