Scotland’s transport minister has resigned from the Scottish government due to poor mental health.
Kevin Stewart tendered his resignation to First Minister Humza Yousaf on Tuesday.
The MSP for Aberdeen Central admitted having bouts of poor mental health since last October, which returned over the last week.
In his letter, Mr Stewart, 55, said he was quitting from the post with a “heavy heart” but added that being part of the Scottish government had been the “greatest honour” of his life.
He explained: “Since last October I have had bouts of poor mental health, with a low ebb in early December of last year.
“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.”
Mr Stewart pledged to continue to serve his constituents and will support the Scottish government from the backbenches.
The politician, who previously served as depute leader of Aberdeen City Council, was first elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2011.
Mr Stewart was appointed minister for local government, housing and planning in 2016 under former first minister Nicola Sturgeon. He then became the minister for mental wellbeing and social care in 2021 before being handed the transport brief back in March when Mr Yousaf took the reins.
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Mr Yousaf said he was “very sorry” to receive Mr Stewart’s letter but understood his reasons for resigning.
The first minister 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.”
The first minister noted how in his own time as health secretary, he had worked with Mr Stewart and highlighted his “hard work” on the forthcoming mental health and wellbeing plan as well as efforts to boost wages for social care workers.
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Mr Yousaf added that while local government, housing and planning minister, Mr Stewart had “changed how we tackle homelessness”, as well as working to boost the supply of affordable housing.
“I know what a hard-working, loyal and dedicated minister you have been in your eight years of service,” he added.
“That is much valued and appreciated by me and across government, and I hope you will feel able to serve again in the future.
“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.”