The Scottish transport minister has resigned following the severe winter weather that closed the main motorway between Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Stewart Stevenson, whose brief in the Scottish Government also included infrastructure and climate change, said he took responsibility for the travel chaos, after some travellers were stuck in their vehicles on roads for more than 15 hours last week. This included on the M8 between Scotland’s two biggest cities, where a 32km stretch of road was closed for two days.
In his resignation letter, Stevenson said: “I have concentrated on developing the government’s winter preparedness and in recent weeks that plan has helped us manage a prolonged and acute spell of weather.”
However, he added that on 6 December, when the weather was at its worst, “I feel that I could have done much more to ensure that members of the public who were caught up in a difficult and frightening set of circumstances were better informed of the situation”.
His resignation followed a debate on the issue in the Scottish Parliament, where Stevenson had said the government and other services were faced with “exceptional circumstances”.
In the debate, Labour transport spokesman Charlie Gordon said the problems had caused “the worst gridlock in living memory”.
Stevenson, who had been in post since May 2007, has been replaced as transport and infrastructure minister by Keith Brown, who had been the minister for skills and lifelong learning. The climate change brief has been added to the portfolio of environment minister Roseanna Cunningham.