KEVIN Stewart has stepped down from the role of transport minister in the Scottish Government after just over two months in the job.

Stewart, the SNP MSP for Aberdeen Central, was only appointed to the position on March 31, during Humza Yousaf's first reshuffle as First Minister.

The MSP said in a letter that he had suffered "bad bouts of poor mental health" since October last year, and had begun to feel unwell in recent weeks. 

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The First Minister said that Stewart left the Scottish Government with a "record you can be proud of" in response to his resignation. 

Stewart previously served as the minister for local government, housing and planning from 2016, and minister for mental wellbeing and social care from 2021. 

In a letter to the First Minister, Stewart said: "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.

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"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.

"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."

Yousaf said he was "very sorry" to receive Stewart's letter of resignation. 

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"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," Yousaf wrote. 

"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 FM said it was a "privilege" to work alongside Stewart during his time as minister for mental wellbeing and social care from 2021 to 2023, when Yousaf was health secretary. 

He added that Stewart played a vital role in overseeing the forthcoming mental health and wellbeing plan, as well as increasing social care wages "benefiting thousands of people" across Scotland. 

"As minister for local government, housing and planning from 2016 to 2021, you changed how we tackle homelessness through establishing HARSAG and implementing a Housing First and Rapid Rehousing approach.

"You introduced planning legislation and fuel poverty targets and, crucially, ensured there was a major boost in the supply of affordable housing.  

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"I also know you were a huge and valued help to many ministers across government through the pandemic and that solidarity and support was deeply felt."

Yousaf added that Stewart was a "hard-working, loyal and dedicated" minister over eight years and that is "much valued and appreciated". He added that he hoped Stewart may take a role on the front benches in 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," the First Minister added. 

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