TRANSPORT Minister Kevin Stewart has quit government for health-related reasons.

The Aberdeen Central MSP said he made the decision with a "heavy heart."

In a letter to Humza Yousaf he said it had been "greatest honour of my life to serve the people of Scotland in three ministerial positions under the leadership of Nicola Sturgeon and yourself."

Mr Stewart told the First Minister he had been suffering "bouts of poor mental health" since last October, with "low ebb in early December of last year." 

He added: "Over the last week or so I have once again been feeling unwell and I feel that I can no longer put in the hours required to serve both my constituents and hold ministerial office, whilst also trying to maintain good mental health. I do hope that you understand.

"You can be assured that I will continue to serve my Aberdeen Central constituents to the very best of my ability and will continue to support you and your government from the backbenchers."

Mr Yousaf said he was sorry to accept the resignation. 

In a letter back to Mr Stewart, he said: "Many people underestimate the pressure on Ministers and I understand why you have felt the need to leave government to concentrate on your mental health and much loved constituency.

"You leave with a record you can be proud of. As well as taking on transport in the last two months where you invested in buses and focused on improving the position on ferries, your previous roles have benefitted from your expertise and experience. "


He added: "Personally, I will miss you in government and I know you will be of huge benefit to our backbenches, within our great party, and will remain a source of counsel for many, myself included.  


"I wish you all the very best and please know we are here to provide whatever support we can with your mental health."

More to follow...