Transport Minister Kevin Stewart has stepped down from his ministerial post for mental health-related reasons.
In a letter to Humza Yousaf, Stewart said he had experienced “bouts” of poor mental health, adding he had been “at a low ebb” in December last year.
The 55-year-old told the First Minister he had been feeling “unwell” in recent weeks, adding: “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.”
Stewart – the former minister for mental wellbeing and social care – will now stand down from the role with immediate effect.
He will continue to represent the Aberdeen Central constituency he was first elected to in 2011 from the backbenches.
Youaf thanked him for his contribution and said he hoped he could welcome him back into government again in the future.
Stewart wrote: “I am writing to you with a heavy heart to resign as your government’s minister for transport.
“It has been the greatest honour of my life to serve the people of Scotland in three ministerial positions under the leadership of Nicola Sturgeon and yourself and I do hope that I have made a positive difference for our people and our country.
“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.”
He added: “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 backbenches.”
Stewart won the Aberdeen Central seat for the SNP from Labour’s Lewis MacDonald and was appointed minister for local government, housing and planning by Nicola Sturgeon in 2016.
He became minister for mental wellbeing and social care in 2021, before taking over as transport chief in Yousaf’s first cabinet earlier this year.
In his response, the FM wrote the pressure on ministers was “underestimated,” but added he understood the need for Stewart to “concentrate on his mental wellbeing”.
“I know what a hard-working, loyal and dedicated minister you have been in your eight years of service,” he wrote.
“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.
“I wish you all the very best and please know we are here to provide whatever support we can with your mental health.”