Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has today (Tuesday June 26th) stepped down from his role as Minister for International Development and Europe in the Scottish Government.
The change comes as part of a reshuffle and reshaping of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s Government, with the new Cabinet pictured above.
The islands MSP has served as a Government Minister since 2011, first as Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland's Languages in the Government under former First Minister Alex Salmond before being appointed his latest role after the 2016 Holyrood elections.
Alasdair Allan MSP said: “I would like to thank both the First Minister and the former First Minister Alex Salmond for allowing me the opportunity to serve in two successive Scottish Governments. It has truly been an honour.
“Representing the people of the Western Isles in Scotland’s Parliament is the greatest privilege I have ever had, and my first and foremost duty. My constituency spans 130 miles and encompasses 13 inhabited islands. Balancing both my roles as the Member of the Scottish Parliament for Na h-Eileanan an Iar and a Government Minister has proved more than a little logistically challenging at times. I am greatly looking forward to be able to spend even more time in the islands that have been so welcoming to me since I first moved here more than a decade ago, and that I am now proud to call my home.
“I would also like to thank all those who I have worked with over the past seven years for their help and support, and I pass on my best wishes to the new Ministerial team.”
Health secretary, Shona Robison, has also quit her post. In her resignation letter to Nicola Sturgeon, she says: “It has been an honour to serve in the Scottish Government over the past ten years.” She talks of how many “fantastic and inspiring” people she met in her role as Health Secretary in the past three-and-a-half years.
She adds: “As you know, this last year has been particularly challenging for me personally, losing both my parents, having a health scare of my own, and some big changes in my personal life.
“I feel that I have reached a point in my life just now where I would be best to step down from a role in Government. I have entered a new chapter of my life, including a new relationship, where it would be good to take time to focus on those close to me.”
Five new Cabinet Secretaries have been appointed, with the overall size of the Cabinet increasing to 12 to reflect the increasing impact of Brexit on Scottish Government business, and ensure direct Cabinet oversight of the operational delivery of a new social security system.
The First Minister has appointed Humza Yousaf as Justice Secretary. Among his other responsibilities, he will lead the delivery of new Hate Crime laws.
Jeane Freeman is promoted to become Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport and will continue work to reform the NHS, and prepare it for the future.
Shirley-Anne Somerville has been appointed as a dedicated Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People and will oversee the operational delivery of the first social security payments following the passage of the landmark Social Security Bill.
Aileen Campbell will become Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government and lead the Scottish Government’s work to tackle poverty and inequality and, in partnership with councils, take forward plans to reform local governance.
Following the successful establishment of the new Scottish system of Income Tax and with increasing focus on the need for strategic investment to grow the economy, the First Minister has appointed Derek MacKay and Michael Matheson to two key economic posts.
Derek MacKay will become Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work and will be supported by a team of ministers including a Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills alongside new posts of Minister for Public Finance and the Digital Economy, and a Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation.
Michael Matheson will become Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity. He will be supported by a new Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, tasked with delivering 100% superfast broadband across Scotland. Fergus Ewing will continue as Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy.
Michael Russell will join Cabinet with responsibility for Government Business and Constitutional Relations, overseeing the necessary preparations for the UK’s exit from the EU in a way that protects Scotland’s interests and ensures that the Government’s wider programme of work is not affected, and leading discussions with the UK Government as the Brexit process continues.
John Swinney, Roseanna Cunningham and Fiona Hyslop will remain in their current posts, while Keith Brown and Angela Constance will also leave the government along with Shona Robiison.
The new appointments will be put to Parliament for approval on Thursday 28 June.
Unveiling the new Cabinet line-up, the First Minister said: « The new Cabinet I am announcing today brings fresh talent to the Scottish Government and ensures that we are fully equipped to meet the challenges and opportunities facing the country in the months and years ahead.
“With the impact of Brexit on our economy and wider society, it is right that the issues it presents are fully reflected at Cabinet level, while the delivery of a new Scottish social security system also requires a voice at the Cabinet table.
“Those appointments, together with the reshaped portfolios announced today, mean that people can have confidence that the Scottish Government will continue to deliver for people, public services and communities the length and breadth of the country.
“People already have high trust in the Scottish Government to look after their interests, and I am determined that this new, refreshed Cabinet will continue to repay that trust.
“I would like to place on record my thanks and gratitude to Keith Brown, Shona Robison and Angela Constance who are leaving Cabinet today for the hard work, commitment and dedication they have brought to the Government. Each of them has achievements that they can be proud of and I know that they will all continue to make a strong contribution to the cause of a better Scotland.
“I will shortly be appointing a fully refreshed junior ministerial team, which will also include a number of fresh faces and a wealth of new talent.”
This post has been extensively updated since first appearing