FORMER first minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she is “proud” to call Humza Yousaf a friend as he announced his resignation.

The First Minister has come under increasing pressure to quit after he ended the Bute House Agreement last week.

He announced his resignation as both the leader of the SNP and First Minister in a press conference in Bute House around midday on Monday.

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Writing on Twitter/X, Yousaf’s predecessor Sturgeon said: “I know how big a privilege being first minister is, but also the toll it can take.

“I also know what a wrench it is to step aside, even when sure it is the right thing to do. Humza has conducted himself with grace, dignity and integrity – both as FM and in the manner of his leaving.

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“I am and always will be proud to call him a friend.”

Following Yousaf’s statement, some senior figures in the SNP have already backed John Swinney to take over the role.

The Perthshire MSP served as deputy first minister for a number of years alongside Sturgeon and both Ian Blackford and Keith Brown have backed him to make a bid for the leadership.