TRANSPORT Minister Humza Yousaf has blamed the break up of his marriage after being caught by police while driving without insurance.

Ms Yousaf, who is already under pressure over poor service on Scotland’s railways, said he had made an “honest mistake” and would not contest the charge.

The minister was driving a friend’s car to a St Andrew’s Night dinner in Ullapool last Friday when police pulled him over for a routine check on the A835 near Dingwall around 7pm.

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The former Hutchesons’ Grammar pupil now faces a fine of between £300 and £5000 plus six points on his licence.

Mr Yousaf said he was “mortified” by the error, which he put down to a change in his insurance details after he separated from his wife Gail Lythgoe in the summer.

He said he thought his revised policy meant he was covered to drive other vehicles, but it transpired he was only insured to drive his own.

It is understood he informed Nicola Sturgeon of the incident the morning after being stopped.

In the wake of the "embarrassing" incident he urged others to check their insurance papers.

He said he had been pulled over for a simple roadside check, and had not been speeding or driving a defective vehicle.

However when officers checked his licence and details, they told him he was not insured.

He said: “I believed I was in possession of fully comprehensive insurance, not just for my own car, and as such that I was insured to drive vehicles other than my own.

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“If I had had even the slightest doubt about my insurance I would not have driven the car. “Unfortunately, on investigation, it appears that following the breakup of my marriage and transfer of ownership of our car I did not complete the process of taking over as the main policy holder, which would have enabled me to drive other vehicles - which my policy had previously enabled me to do. However, I remained insured to drive my own car at all times throughout."

He said he had co-operated fully with the authorities and would "not be contesting the issue".

Mr Yousaf added: “I will accept any penalty imposed and have taken immediate steps to update my insurance cover.

"This was an honest mistake, and an embarrassing one for me personally - however it underlines the importance of being properly insured at all times.

"I hope my example reminds others to check their insurance and I remain committed to my work to improve Scotland's transport system for everyone."

Mr Yousaf, 31, married Ms Lythgoe, 28, a law student, at Glasgow University in July 2010.

They separated in mid-June, just short of their sixth wedding anniversary.

The transport minister, who in May was elected SNP MSP for Glasgow Pollok, recently faced calls for his dismissal from train unions over his handling of problems at ScotRail.

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However last night there was no appetite to Holyrood for him to quit over his latest trouble, given the state of his marriage, with Labour declining to comment.

Scottish Tory deputy leader Jackson Carlaw said: “We don't believe this is a resignation matter. Anyone could have found themselves in this situation, due process has been followed, “Mr Yousaf himself has apologised, and we should move on. He now has an opportunity to use this incident to persuade others of the importance of motorists being properly insured."