22/05/2016 18:39 BST | Updated 23/05/2016 09:42 BST

Stewart Hosie Affair With Journalist Serena Cowdy Forces SNP Deputy Leader To Step Down

He has apologised for 'any hurt and upset' he has caused.

The deputy leader of the Scottish National Party, who is alleged to have had an affair with a Westminster journalist, is stepping down following the "intense scrutiny" of his private life. 

Stewart Hosie reportedly had a relationship with reporter Serena Cowdy, who was previously said to have been involved with SNP MP Angus MacNeil, who represents Na h-Eileanan an Iar in Parliament.

Hosie, 53, said he wanted to "apologise for any hurt and upset" he has caused and will step back from the role to concentrate on his constituency, responsibilities at Westminster and his health.

Danny Lawson/PA Archive
SNP deputy leader Stewart Hosie is stepping down and apologised for 'any hurt and upset'  he has caused

The MP for Dundee East said the "intense scrutiny" of his private life had been "very difficult" to deal with.

In a letter to Nicola Sturgeon, he wrote: "I am writing to you firstly to apologise for any hurt and upset I have caused to friends, family and colleagues. That was never my intention.

"I am also writing to tell you of my intention not to seek re-election as deputy leader of the SNP at this year's annual conference, giving ample time for the party to choose a successor.

"As you know I have been admitted to hospital on three occasions in the past few years with very high blood pressure. In that regard, the stress of the intense scrutiny of my private life has been very difficult.

"I intend to concentrate on my constituents, my responsibilities at Westminster, and most importantly, my health."

Michael Stephens/PA Archive
Reporter Serena Cowdy was previously said to have been involved with SNP MP Angus MacNeil.

Sturgeon, a close friend of Hosie's wife Shona Robison, who is Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport in the Scottish Government, said she wished him well.

The First Minister wrote: "During your tenure in office, amongst your many other duties, you have authored two successful election manifestos - providing the policy platform for our victories in both the 2015 general election and the 2016 Scottish Parliament election.

"These are achievements you should be very proud of.

"As you step down as deputy leader, I know you will continue to make a valuable contribution to the party in many ways and, in particular, through your work in your constituency and as part of the Westminster group."

Also on HuffPost