Sturgeon steps down after eight years of leadership

By Sophie Robinson

Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland, has announced her intent to resign after eight years and just under four months of leadership. She was the first female leader of Scotland, as well as the longest serving first minister. In her speech, she said that she would resign after a new leader of the SNP (Scottish National Party) and of Scotland had been elected. At the press conference on the 15th of February 2023, she mentioned that part of a good leadership is to know when it is time to hand over to someone else. She said: “In my head and in my heart, I know that that time is now.”

Sturgeon was the Deputy First Minister of Scotland to Alex Salmond, where she also served as the Health Secretary. During this time (2007-2012), she got rid of prescription charges as well as deferred waiting lists. She also saw Scotland through the 2009 swine-flu pandemic. After the 2011 election and SNP remained in power, she remained as the Deputy First Minister and Health minister, until a re-shuffle one year later where she became the Infrastructure Secretary (from 2012-2014), as well as overseeing the referendum for Scottish independence. It was in the role of Infrastructure Secretary that she pledged a high speed rail-way line from Glasgow to Edinburgh by 2024. However, this was then abandoned, and the Scottish government blamed Westminster.

Following Alex Salmond’s announcement of resignation on the 19th September 2014, five
days later Sturgeon launched her campaign to become the leader of the SNP. On the 15th
October, she was confirmed as the only candidate running for the position. Then, on the 14th November 2014, she was confirmed as the new leader of the SNP.

Sturgeon’s first term was from 2014-2016, and she was then voted in for a second term from 2016-2021. Following that she was voted in for a third term, from 2021-2023. Throughout her leadership, there have been 5 different UK prime ministers, 3 general elections, 2 Scottish parliament elections, one global pandemic and Brexit.

After her resignation on the 15th, many have speculated on who the new leader could be.
Some of the candidates for the role have since been announced. The first is Ash Regan, who served as the minister for Community Safety, from 2018-2022. The second announced candidate is Humza Yousaf, who is the health secretary. Articles have also speculated the following two people as possible candidates: Angus Robertson who is the Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, external affairs and culture, and Kate Forbes who is the finance secretary.

So the question remains – who will succeed Sturgeon after eight years of leadership?

Posted in News, Politics.