Nicola Sturgeon to stand down as Scottish First Minister
Nicola Sturgeon has announced she will stand down as First Minister of Scotland after eight years.
In a shock announcement, the SNP leader told a press conference that she believes it is the right time to stand aside.
The longest serving – and first female – First Minister said from her residence at Bute House in Edinburgh that she will remain in office while the SNP select her successor.
“Since my very first moments in the job I have believed a part of serving well would be to know almost instinctively when the time is right to make way for someone else,” she said.
“In my head and in my heart I know that time is now. That it’s right for me, for my party and my country.” The SNP leader said she knew there were some people who would “feel upset by this decision”.
She added: “And of course for balance there will be some who, how can I put this, will cope with the news just fine, such is the beauty of democracy.
“But to those who do feel shocked or disappointed, or perhaps even a bit angry with me, please… be in no doubt that this is really hard for me.
“My decision comes from a place of duty and of love.
Ms Sturgeon said that giving absolutely everything to the job is the only way to do it, and the nature and form of modern political discourse means there is a greater intensity – adding that it takes its toll on “you and the people around you”.
She said being First Minister and Deputy First Minister is a “privilege”, adding: “But they are also really hard and especially in the case of First Minister relentlessly so.
Ms Sturgeon had recently become embroiled in a row over transgender policies after Scotland passed a Gender Recognition Reform Bill, making it easier for people to change their legal gender, however she told reporters that her decision was not linked to short-term issues.
Nicola Sturgeon’s historic career as First Minister will be remembered for the fight for Scottish independence and tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.
She will leave office as the longest-serving and first female First Minister since the creation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999.
Ms Sturgeon joined the Scottish National Party at the age of 16 and rose through the ranks to take top billing after Alex Salmond stood down following the defeat in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum and was voted in as First Minister days later.
But now, Ms Sturgeon will stand down from the top post without realising her key political ambition – securing Scottish independence.
photo credit – Alamy Stock