NICOLA Sturgeon has held a mini-reshuffle after her transport minister resigned for health reasons after barely eight months in the post.

Graeme Dey, the MSP for Angus South, said he no longer felt able to “give 100 per cent” to the task.

His exit led to the SNP culture minister Jenny Gilruth being moved sideways into the transport brief, with backbench MSP Neil Gray promoted into the government to fill the resulting vacancy.

Mr Dey, who served as minister for parliamentary business and veterans from 2018, was appointed transport minister in May 2021 after the Holyrood elections.

His departure comes just two months before the Abellio Scotrail franchise ends and a new Scottish Government-controlled public sector body begins running Scotland's railways.

Mr Dey last year presided over a summer of disruption to Scotland's lifeline ferry services and had been at the centre of ongoing discussions over how to fix the issues.

Writing to the First Minister, Mr Dey said it had been "an absolute privilege" to serve as a minister.

“I have always prided myself on being able to give 100% to any task I am charged with. 

"Regrettably, despite my continuing passion, I find myself unable now to give this hugely important ministerial role everything it rightly requires and deserves.

“It is therefore with regret that I am writing to resign from office as Minister for Transport in the Scottish Government. 

"This is entirely for personal reasons relating to my health and wellbeing."
Ms Sturgeon said Mr Dey had been a "highly effective minister" and left with "many achievements". 

She said: “As Transport Minister, Graeme played a huge part in ensuring the success of COP26. He has also delivered concessionary bus travel for under-22s, set out plans to reduce car travel to meet climate targets, and prepared the ground for the return of Scotland’s railway to public ownership.

“Circumstances permitting, the door will always be open should Graeme wish a return to government in future.”

The First Minister later said the appointment of Ms Gilruth and Mr Gray to their new roles was "a vote of confidence in a new generation of ministerial talent".

She said: “Jenny has proven herself to be an effective representative for Scotland and has championed Scotland’s cultural sector through difficult times.   

“Neil has shown real promise as Convener of the Social Justice and Social Security committee in his short time in Holyrood and I know he will bring the drive, passion and determination he has shown in parliament into government."

Ms Gilruth said transport would help Scotland "become a world leader in achieving our goal to become net zero by 2045".

Mr Gray, a former MP who swapped Westminster for Holyrood last year, said he wanted to help the creative industries "recover from some of the hardest years for the sector in recent memory”.