Shamed former Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has released a rare public statement by defending his taxpayer-funded expenses claims.

Mackay, who quit the SNP Government in February after pestering a 16 year old school boy with messages, claimed over £4,000 since the month of his resignation.

His spokesperson 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.”

Mackay resigned on February 6th - on the day he was supposed to deliver the Scottish Budget - after the messages emerged

It was reported he had sent the boy 270 messages over six months.

Although he quit the Government and the SNP, he has refused to stand down as an MSP.

His expenses claims for February and March include nearly £2,000 for rental accommodation in Edinburgh, £132.90 for “utilities” and around £40 for hall hire and surgeries.

He also claimed £1,125 for office rent and £67.50 for service charges.