SNP depute leader Keith Brown today said it is “very difficult” to see how shamed former finance secretary Derek Mackay can remain an MSP.
Speaking on BBC Politics Scotland, Mr Brown stressed that while the decision on whether to remain in parliament rests with Mr Mackay, it was “very difficult” to see how he could continue.
The Renfrewshire North and West MSP resigned as finance secretary on Thursday after the Scottish Sun revealed he had sent hundreds of messages to a 16-year-old school boy on social media.
The depute leader added that he was “completely unaware” of Mr Mackay’s “text habits”, adding it had come as a “shock to people throughout the party”.
The former finance secret resigned as finance secretary after it emerged he sent hundreds of messages to a 16-year-old school boy on social media.
Mr Brown said: “First of all it’s an extremely serious situation.
“Serious for the young individual involved and it’s being treated very seriously by the government and by the First Minister.
“As for Derek Mackay’s own future in the parliament, that’s something only he can decide. It’s not something over which either the SNP or the government have control.
“As things stand Derek Mackay is a suspended member of the SNP and there will be a process through which we have to go.
“I think it’s better I don’t comment on that just now.
“But as far as whether he stays in parliament, it is entirely his decision.
“It’s very difficult to see how he can continue but it’s his decision and it may be a technical process but it’s a very serious process.
“Derek will have to come to his own decision on that but there is a very serious process to go through and I don’t want to jeopardise that.
It’s very difficult to see how he can continue but it’s his decision and it may be a technical process but it’s a very serious process.”
When quizzed on whether the Scottish Parliament should introduce a recall system to remove members, such as is the case in Westminster, Mr Brown said “safeguards” are in place, adding it would be “interesting” to see if anyone proposed its introduction.
There is currently no recall process at the Scottish Parliament except in cases where an MSP is given a custodial sentence of 12 months or more.
Mr Brown said: “If somebody has a jail sentence of a certain length they will be forced out of the parliament in those circumstances.
“Nobody has proposed a recall process for the Scottish Parliament but it will be interesting to see if anybody does.”