Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that Derek Mackay has been suspended from the SNP pending an investigation into his conduct.
In a short statement to MSPs ahead of first minister’s questions, she said the former finance secretary had behaved in an “unacceptable” way, which fell “seriously below the standard required of a minister”.
Mr Mackay had been finance secretary since 2016 and was due to deliver the Budget today, before allegations emerged relating to messages sent to a 16-year-old boy.
Ms Sturgeon said: “Members will be aware that I have accepted the resignation of Derek Mackay as finance secretary.
“Derek Mackay has apologised unreservedly for his conduct and recognised, as I do, that it was unacceptable and falls seriously below the standard required of a minister.
“I can also advise that he has been this morning been suspended both from the SNP and the parliamentary group pending further investigation.”
The SNP leader also confirmed that the Budget would go ahead today, presented by Public Finance Minister Kate Forbes.