New government

Robison takes Forbes’ job as Regan also snubbed

Shona Robison: will present the Scottish Budget (pic: Terry Murden)

Shona Robison, who campaigned to stop Kate Forbes becoming First Minister, completed her demolition of the former Finance Secretary’s ambitions by taking her job in Humza Youasaf’s cabinet.

She will combine the role with that of Deputy First Minister, the dual functions performed by John Swinney who stood in for Ms Forbes during her maternity leave.

In a radical, Mr Yousaf found no place in his Cabinet and junior ranks for deputy party leader Keith Brown who was sacked from his role at Justice, and Ivan McKee as Trade Minister.

Ms Robison, a close friend of Nicola Sturgeon and Mr Yousaf, was Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government in the previous cabinet and introduced the controversial gender reforms.

The MSP for Dundee City East has been part of the Scottish Parliament since it was established in 1999 and is a former Health Secretary, a position she found “very challenging”. She will now have the job of preparing and presenting the Scottish Budget.

Business leaders will also be introduced to Neil Gray, who is rewarded for leading Mr Yousaf’s SNP leadership campaign with the post of Wellbeing Economy, Fair Work, and Energy Secretary.

After announcing his 10-strong Cabinet, Mr Yousaf completed the government line-up by announcing 18 junior ministers and there was no place for his other leadership rival Ash Regan despite having promised to bring both her and Ms Forbes into his team.

Reporting to Mr Gray, Green MSPs Lorna Slater and Patrick Harvie remain in their roles as Circularity minister and Tenants’ Rights minister respectively.

Also under Mr Gray’s wing are Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade Richard Lochhead and Minister for Energy Gillian Martin. Trade minister Ivan McKee has been axed even though he is one of the few MSPs to have business experience.

Richard Lochhead
Richard Lochhead: minister for energy (pic: Terry Murden)

Paul McLennan becomes Minister for Housing and Kevin Stewart moves to Minister for Transport.

Among other key Cabinet moves the SNP’s deputy leader, Keith Brown, has been replaced by Angela Constance as the Justice Secretary.

Michael Matheson is the latest to be handed the health portfolio while Jenny Gilruth gets her first Cabinet posting as Secretary for Education and Skills, replacing Shirley-Anne Somerville, who becomes cabinet secretary for Social Justice.

Mairi McAllan, a Cabinet newcomer at the age of 30, will be the Net Zero and Just Transition Secretary.

Two other Cabinet ministers retain their posts – Mairi Gougeon hangs on to rural affairs but may regard herself as second choice after the job was rejected by Ms Forbes.

At least she has the support in the rural business community. Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, said: “We have enjoyed an excellent relationship with Mairi and we look forward to continuing our positive engagement.”

Angus Robertson remains as Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, External Affairs.

After serving in four ministerial roles in five years, Ben McPherson said he had “respectfully declined a fifth.”

Mr Yousaf said the new cabinet team is “one that represents Scotland, and one that will lead Scotland through the recovery and beyond.”

Conservative chairman Craig Hoy said: “This cabinet of proven flops and lackeys not only excludes Kate Forbes – who came within a whisker of beating Humza Yousaf in the vitriolic SNP leadership race – but anyone who backed her.

“Humza Yousaf clearly has no intention of ending the SNP’s civil war – just getting his revenge and declaring victory in it. 

“Instead of offering an olive branch to the huge chunk of the party that didn’t back him, he would rather pander to the extremist Scottish Greens by giving a ‘wellbeing economy’ minister cabinet status.  We all fear for the wellbeing of the economy with the Greens in government.”

Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie said: “The First Minister promised to bring the country together, but he can’t even bring his own party together. Loyalty is being rewarded over talent.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “The downgrading of housing and local government doesn’t bode well for sectors already in crisis on the SNP’s watch.”

Full Cabinet and Junior ministers

First Minister, Humza Yousaf

Minister for Drugs and Alcohol Policy, Elena Whitham

Minister for Independence, Jamie Hepburn

Minister for Cabinet and Parliamentary Business, George Adam

Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Shona Robison

Minister for Community Wealth and Public Finance, Tom Arthur

Minister for Local Government Empowerment and Planning, Joe FitzPatrick

Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care, Michael Matheson

Minister for Public Health and Women’s Health, Jenni Minto

Minister for Social Care, Mental Wellbeing and Sport, Maree Todd

Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, Jenny Gilruth

Minister for Children, Young People and Keeping the Promise, Natalie Don

Minister for Higher and Further Education; and Minister for Veterans, Graeme Dey

Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Just Transition, Màiri McAllan

Minister for Transport, Kevin Stewart

Cabinet Secretary for Wellbeing Economy, Fair Work and Energy, Neil Gray

Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade, Richard Lochhead

Minister for Energy, Gillian Martin

Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity (who will also work alongside the Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Just Transition), Lorna Slater

Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights (who will also work alongside the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice), Patrick Harvie

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands, Mairi Gougeon

Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, External Affairs and Culture, Angus Robertson

Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development, Christina McKelvie

Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Shirley-Anne Somerville

Minister for Equalities, Migration and Refugees, Emma Roddick

Minister for Housing, Paul McLennan

Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Home Affairs, Angela Constance

Minister for Victims and Community Safety, Siobhian Brown

Parliament will be asked to approve the new Ministerial appointments on Thursday. A more detailed breakdown of ministerial responsibilities will be confirmed in due course.

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