Saint John East MLA-elect Gary Keating has announced he will be "unable to assume the responsibility of being an MLA," citing the negative impact it would have on his family and health.

"After careful personal reflection and the unconditional love and support from my family I have decided, at this particular point in my life, that my family must come first and be my priority," Keating said in a statement issued early Tuesday evening, just 22 days after being elected.

Gary Keating

Liberal MLA-elect Gary Keating, who won the riding of Saint John East by eight votes, the slimmest margin of victory in the Sept. 22 election, now says he will unable to serve. (CBC)

​Given the long hours and travel associated with the post, "I came to the conclusion that this role is not for me," he said.

Keating says Premier Brian Gallant has "gracefully" accepted his decision.

Gallant's Liberals will still have a majority with Keating's resignation.

But once a Liberal Speaker is in place, the Liberals will hold 25 seats, compared to the Progressive Conservative's 21 seats and Green Party's one — at least until a byelection, which must be held within six months.

Keating, who has not even been sworn in yet, also offered his "deepest apologies" to his constituents.

"They placed their trust in me and I cannot help but feel that I have let them down," he said.

"In valuing the importance of family life themselves, I can only hope that they understand my reasons for making this decision."

The New Brunswick Liberal Association declined an interview on the matter, saying Gallant will speak about it within the next couple of days.

Keating won the riding of Saint John East by just eight votes on Sept. 22, defeating incumbent Progressive Conservative Glen Savoie.

It was the slimmest margin of victory in the provincial election, resulting in an automatic hand recount that saw Keating get one additional vote.

Keating, who was born and raised in Saint John East, is married with three children.

He is still listed as the principal of Simonds High School on the school's website.