SHAMED MSP DEREK Mackay claimed around £4,500 in parliamentary expenses in the weeks after he resigned in disgrace over a sleaze scandal, it has emerged.

The former SNP Finance Secretary billed taxpayers for £4,406 in February and March this year, despite being absent from Holyrood.

The claims included £1,990 for two months’ rent on an Edinburgh flat, another £1,125 for office rent and £600 for computer maintenance.

His expenses since March have yet to be made public.

The new figures emerged as Holyrood published the final quarter of expenses for 2019/20, covering January to March this year.

They showed MSPs claimed a total of £16,987,056 last year, an increase of £183,451 (1.1%) on 2018/19.

Mr Mackay resigned on the eve of the Scottish budget on February 6 after the Scottish Sun revealed he had been pestering a 16-year-old schoolboy on social media.

The paper reported the 43-year-old MSP had contacted the boy out of the blue without knowing his age the previous August, then sent him 270 messages over six months.

Mr Mackay, who came out as gay in 2013, had been tipped as a future First Minister until the scandal abruptly ended his political career.

The Renfrewshire North and West MSP has not been seen at Holyrood since, and the SNP is now in the process of selecting a new candidate for his seat in 2021.

However he continues to collect his £64,470 salary.

He was also paid an automatic grant of £11,945 for loss of ministerial office after he quit.

He will get a further automatic resettlement grant of £53,725, the first £30,000 of which will be tax-free, when he leaves Holyrood at the 2021 election.

A spokesperson for Mr Mackay said: “The expenditure complies with Scottish Parliament allowance rules and Mr Mackay’s Renfrewshire North and West constituency office is continuing to operate in line with the Scottish Government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance in dealing with casework and making representations on behalf of constituents. 

"The constituency office has directly assisted in more than 580 cases so far this year.”

The Herald revealed earlier this month that, despite suspending him, the SNP had paid for counselling for Mr Mackay as people were “genuinely very worried about him”.

Despite his reprehensible conduct “there is still a duty of care element there,” a source said.

Earlier this month it emerged Mr Mackay had claimed £327 for 10 days of accommodation costs in Edinburgh in July despite being absent from Holyrood since he resigned.

Holyrood was also in recess for nine of the 10 days involved.

His spokesman said at the time that the claim had been within the parliament’s rules, which do not require an MSP to attend parliament to claim Edinburgh accommodation provision.