John Swinney has announced that he intends to resign as Deputy First Minister later this month, once a new First Minister is appointed.
Swinney, who also serves as a Scottish National Party MP for Perthshire North since 2011, was appointed Deputy First Minister in 2014 when Nicola Sturgeon became First Minister.
He had previously served as leader of the party from 2000 to 2004, before being given the role of Finance Secretary in Alex Salmond’s cabinet. In 2014, he kept the role alongside his position as Deputy First Minister, until 2016, when he was moved to education as part of a government reshuffle. In 2021, he was appointed Cabinet Secretary for COVID Recovery.
Despite speculation, Swinney ruled himself out as a leadership candidate early, following Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation last month – saying he wished to “create the space” for “fresh perspective” within the SNP.
As of yet, he has not endorsed any of the three candidates currently making a bid for leadership: Kate Forbes, Ash Regan and Humza Yousaf. He expressed concerns about statements made by Forbes when she said she would have voted against same-sex marriage, saying that he was “a man of deep Christian faith” but that he did not “hold the same views that Kate has set out in the course of the last couple of days.”
His resignation from front-line Scottish politics represents the end of a 16 year tenure in the Scottish Government. He is not expected to stand down as a constituency MSP at this time.