Humza Yousaf has travelled to Qatar for a short break, The Herald understands.

The First Minister and his wife Nadia El-Nakla flew out to the Gulf State from Edinburgh on Saturday and are expected to be there for a few days.

Deputy First Minister Shona Robison is covering his duties while he is on holiday which is taking place while Holyrood is in recess this week.

"The First Minister is on leave during the parliamentary recess this week, with the Deputy First Minister covering his duties. For security reasons, the First Minister’s travel arrangements are not made public," the Scottish Government told The Herald.

READ MORE: Can Yousaf calm the SNP storm a year on from Sturgeon exit?

Mr Yousaf's break comes days after he was forced to reshuffle his Cabinet following the sudden resignation of Michael Matheson as health secretary last Thursday.

Mr Matheson quit following three months of controversy over an £11,000 roaming charge he ran up using his iPad on a festive break and New Year holiday to Morocco in 2022/23 with his family.

The Herald: Doha, the capital city of Qatar.

It has been reported that a parliamentary report on his expenses claim found he had misled Alison Johnstone, Holyrood’s presiding officer, and David McGill, parliament’s chief executive.

When details of the bill were first made public, Mr Matheson said the device had only been used for parliamentary work.

READ MORE: 'SNP's difficulties will get worse under Yousaf's weak leadership'

But he subsequently admitted that his sons had used the iPad as a data hotspot so they could watch football.

He has since paid back the bill in full and apologised.

Mr Matheson's exit comes after a tumultuous first year as First Minister in which his predecessor Nicola Sturgeon and her husband were arrested during a long running police investigation into SNP finances and the SNP’s poll lead over Labour was cut.

READ MORE: Protests expected at Scottish Labour conference over Gaza

In a recent poll for The Sunday Times, Mr Yousaf returned a net trust score of minus 25 with Ms Sturgeon ranked at minus 19.

Mr Matheson was replaced as health secretary by Neil Gray, who ran Mr Yousaf’s SNP leadership campaign, with the First Minister using the reshuffle to reshape his cabinet.

In the wake of Mr Matheson's exit, the First Minister also came under political pressure.

The Scottish Tories said Mr Yousaf should have sacked Mr Matheson back in November when news of his iPad bill first emerged and they demanded he apologise for not doing so.

READ MORE: Nadia El-Nakla is far more than Humza Yousaf's wife

Scottish Tory chairman Craig Hoy told BBC News that Mr Matheson had been "distracted and utterly disgraced" in a period of rising A&E waiting times.

As well as facing political challenges, Mr Yousaf and Ms El-Nakla, a psychotherapist and councillor in Dundee, have also been hit with difficulties in their home lives.

Ms El-Nakla's parents became trapped last year on a family visit to the city of Deir al-Balah after the Hamas atrocities of 7 October, when 1,200 people were killed and about 240 taken hostage.

Elizabeth and Maged El-Nakla, who live in Dundee, were permitted to cross into Egypt along with other British nationals after almost a month. 

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf urges Qatar to help broker Gaza ceasefire

Both Mr Yousaf and Ms El-Nakla addressed the SNP conference as they waited for news of their family's welfare in Gaza with the couple widely respected for the way they faced the ordeal.

The First Minister and his wife have since continued to share the brutal detail of the day-to-day impact of the bombardment of Gaza by Israel.

Mr Yousaf has been at the forefront of calls among UK politicians for an immediate ceasefire in the conflict, urging the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to support this position amid the rising civilian death toll.

Writing this afternoon on X, formerly Twitter, Mr Yousaf said: "Keir Starmer and Sunak's unwillingness to call for an immediate ceasefire will never be forgotten, nor forgiven.

"The UK Government and Labour Opposition should hang their heads in shame as we witness a massacre that is killing thousands of women and children in front of our very eyes."

The latest figures from the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry put the overall Palestinian death toll at more than 28,100 including more than 10,000 children.

Last November the First Minister urged Qatar to help broker a ceasefire in Gaza.

Qatar is growing in popularity as a tourist destination, hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup between 20 November and 18 December 2022, and is currently hosting the Qatar Tennis Open.

But it has come under substantial international pressure over its record on human rights.

According to Amnesty International's latest report for 2022/23, migrant workers including domestic workers continued to face a range of abuses in Qatar, including wage theft, forced labour, exploitation and abuse despite reforms.

The report by the leading international human rights organisation stated: "Authorities repressed freedom of expression to silence critical voices. Women continued to face discrimination in law and practice and needed the permission of a male guardian to study, travel or marry. Laws continued to discriminate against LGBTI people, putting them at risk of arrest and torture."

On women's rights the report said:  "Women continued to face discrimination in law and practice. Under the guardianship system, women still needed the permission of a male guardian, usually their husband, father, brother, grandfather or uncle, to marry, study abroad on government scholarships, work in many government jobs, travel abroad if aged under 25 and access reproductive healthcare."

On LGBTI people’s rights, it said: "Qatari laws continued to discriminate against LGBTI people. The Penal Code criminalizes a range of same-sex consensual sexual acts.

"Article 296(3) punishes with imprisonment anyone who “leads or induces or tempts a male, by any means, into committing an act of sodomy or debauchery”. Article 296(4) punishes with imprisonment anyone who “induces or tempts a male or female, by any means, into committing acts contrary to morals or that are unlawful”.

"Activists reported that six people were arbitrarily arrested by security officials and tortured and otherwise ill-treated for their sexual orientation."

Amnesty International also hightlighted Qatar's "failure" to tackle the climate crisis stating that the "government had still not announced a new NDC [Nationally Determined Contribution] to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."