THE SNP's deputy Westminster leader is to stand down, saying has "struggled with the impact that the lockdown" has had on her mental health.

In a statement released on Wednesday night, Kirsty Blackman said she was proud of what she had achieved as over the past three years.

She said: "Together with our team of SNP MPs we have provided a strong voice for Scotland at a challenging time, won a landslide victory at the general election, and seen support for independence rise to record levels."

But, the Aberdeen North MP said the last few months had taken a toll. She said: "Like many others, I've struggled with the impact that lockdown has had on my mental health. In order to prioritise my constituency and my family, I have made the difficult personal decision to step down from my Leadership role.

"I strongly believe that people must be able to talk openly about mental health issues, which affect so many of us. I look forward to continuing my work for Aberdeen North and standing up for Scotland at Westminster."

SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford MP paid tribute to his outgoing deputy: "She has made an important contribution to our work standing up for Scotland at Westminster and making the case for independence. I respect her decision to put her constituents and family first - and know she will continue to play a key role in the SNP team as the MP for Aberdeen North."

Blackman has spoken about her struggles with her mental health before. 

In 2017 she took to Twitter to candidly talk about her battles with depression.

She said: “Talking about depression is hard. “I know those of us who’ve battled it should talk about it more.

“But there are many reasons not to – not least because it feels embarrassing to admit weakness.

“But the more open we can be about mental health the better.

“I’m lucky that I managed to get through the worst times of my depression and got help and had support."