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Highland Perthshire Reacts to First Minister’s Resignation

Local politicians have reacted to the news this morning that the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, would be resigning from her role as leader of the Scottish National Party, and First Minister of Scotland, after more than eight years in the role.

The First Minister announced at a short-notice press conference this morning at her official residence, Bute House, that she knew “in my head and in my heart” this was the right time to step down.

“Since the very first moment in the job, I have believed that part of serving well would be to know, almost instinctively, when the time is right to make way for someone else.

“And when that time came, to have the courage to do so, even if many across the country, and in my party, might feel it too soon.

“In my head and in my heart I know that time is now. That it is right for me, for my party and for the country.

“And so today I am announcing my intention to step down as first minister and leader of my party.”

The First Minister confirmed that she would be staying in the role until a successor had been chosen.

John Swinney, MSP for Perthshire North and Deputy Leader of the Scottish National Party, reacted to the news by stating, “I am very sorry that Nicola Sturgeon has decided to step down as First Minister and leader of the SNP.

“She has provided outstanding leadership to our country, government and Party.

“As the first female, and longest serving, First Minister, she has achieved much for Scotland. Minimum unit pricing of alcohol, expansion of early learning, measures to tackle domestic violence, delivery of The Promise and crucially, leadership through Covid, to name but a few.

“For our Party, she has delivered breath-taking electoral success, winning every election during her leadership and securing two Scottish Parliament victories.

“It has been my privilege to support her as Deputy First Minister. She has my warmest good wishes for the future and heartfelt thanks for all that she has done for Scotland, for the cause of Independence and for the Scottish National Party.”

Pete Wishart, SNP MP for Perth and North Perthshire, commented, “What a gracious, generous and so, so sad resignation speech. Scotland is profoundly and forever changed because of Nicola Sturgeon. She leaves us on the brink of the next stage of our national journey. We will now do this for her.”

While Jim Fairlie, SNP MSP for Perthshire South and Kinross-shire, said, “For those of us who have seen the immense character up close in the chamber, or seen her campaigning in the streets, she has been a phenomenal force in our movement and for that we all owe her an immense thank you.”

Mark Ruskell, Scottish Greens MSP for the Mid Scotland and Fife region said, “It’s Nicola Sturgeon’s humanity that has made her such an exceptional politician and it was those values she summoned again today. Grateful for her leadership on climate justice, where she has opened up space nationally and globally for progress. Her legacy will continue.”

Meanwhile, Murdo Fraser, Conservative MSP for the Mid Scotland and Fife region, said, “Politics is a thankless task but we should recognise the service of Nicola Sturgeon as Scotland’s longest-serving First Minister, and wish her well for the future. Sadly, Scotland is a poorer and more divided country, with weaker public services, than it was when she began.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, Alex Cole-Hamilton, has also commented on the announcement, saying “Nicola Sturgeon’s talent has undoubtedly shaped Scottish political life and she deserves to be thanked for her public service. Today is not a day for political attacks.  I wish her well for everything that comes next.

“It is to Nicola Sturgeon’s credit that she has been open about the pressures and stresses that leadership has involved.  Everyone will recognise how hard it will have been particularly to steer the country during the pandemic and the weight of those decisions.

“Scotland needs leadership that will focus on what really matters because every corner of our NHS is in crisis, the cost of living is punishing, islanders still need new ferries and education deserves to be a top priority.”

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