NICOLA Sturgeon is to resign as First Minister.

The news comes after journalists were told last minute of a press conference in Bute House on Wednesday morning.

It is unknown if she will leave office immediately or set a date in the near future, but she is likely to stay on until a successor is chosen.

News of the press conference, which is to be broadcast live on the Scottish Government's Twitter feed from 11am, took Holyrood lobby journalists by surprise.

The media was given just 45 minutes to sign up to attend the conference, with no further information about the content.

However, reports first broken by the BBC and swiftly followed by other outlets say that the First Minister is to step down.

BBC chief political correspondent Nick Eardley reported a source close to Sturgeon saying: “She’s had enough.”

It is understood that members of the SNP's National Executive Committee heard of Sturgeon's intention to resign as the news broke to the public.

The National:

One NEC member told The National: "That long being hated and feted in equal measure by people who have never met you, very few people could live their lives like that for a very long time.

"Frankly the nasty media has made a difference to her. It has made this just a lot less pleasant than it should be."

They added that "if there was a referendum this year then this wouldn’t be happening".

It comes after a dip in her popularity in the polls in the wake of the row over the Gender Recognition Reform Bill and the housing of trans prisoners.

Sturgeon first took over as First Minister in the wake of the 2014 independence referendum, which the No side won by 55% to 45%. Last November marked her eighth year in office. 

Ipsos Mori research director Keiran Pedley said Sturgeon's resignation would be "the biggest boost Unionism has had since winning in 2014".  

"At one point it looked like Scotland might follow Sturgeon to independence but now? Big shoes to fill," he added.

Pollster Mark Diffley commented: "Voters see no clear successor to the FM – it illustrates how dominant a figure she has been for so long.  

"This makes it an open contest but suggests that whoever succeeds the FM has a huge job of gaining public recognition – in other words, she'll be a very tough act to follow."