Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon is reportedly set to resign from her position after eight years in the role.
The SNP leader is expected to make the shock announcement during a press conference in Edinburgh at her official residence, Bute House, today.
Sky News’ political editor Beth Rigby understands the first minister will stay in post until somebody else takes over but said there was “not an obvious candidate”, raising “huge questions” for the future of her party.
The reasons for her exit are also yet to be revealed, but SNP sources have told Beth Rigby the first minister had “just had enough”.
SNP MP Alison Thewliss said she was “absolutely gutted” about the news, adding: “Nicola has been an incredible leader.”
Her party colleague, MP Stewart McDonald, called Ms Sturgeon “the finest public servant of the devolution age” and would be “an enormous loss” to the country and party.
And another SNP MP, Kirsten Oswald, described her as “outstanding”, adding: “We’ve been so fortunate to have someone with her talents at the helm. I am so sorry she is standing down.”
Ms. Sturgeon has led the party and the country since 2014 after taking over from her predecessor, Alex Salmond, making her the longest-serving first minister since devolution to Holyrood.
As first minister, she has secured election successes at every poll and continued to push for Scottish independence, campaigning for a second referendum on the decision.
That, along with her strong anti-Brexit stance, has left her at loggerheads with the UK government, led by the Conservatives, who back keeping the UK together and have refused to offer up another vote.
A senior Labour source said her decision showed it was “all over” for the independence campaign, and showed “after 15 years of failure, the SNP have run out of road”.
There have been a number of issues for Ms Sturgeon in recent months, including splits in the party over her approach to transgender rights, and over her bill on gender recognition