Nicola Sturgeon


Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon MSP
Deputy First Minister of Scotland
Incumbent
Assumed office
17 May 2007
First Minister Alex Salmond
Preceded by Nicol Stephen
Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Cities Strategy
Incumbent
Assumed office
17 May 2007
First Minister Alex Salmond
Preceded by Andy Kerr
Deputy Leader of the Scottish National Party
Incumbent
Assumed office
3 September 2004
Leader Alex Salmond
Preceded by Roseanna Cunningham
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Glasgow Southside
Incumbent
Assumed office
6 May 2011
Preceded by Constituency established
Majority 4,349 (19.2%)
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Glasgow Govan (2007-11)
Glasgow (1999-2007)
In office
3 May 2007 – 5 May 2011
Preceded by Gordon Jackson
Succeeded by Constituency abolished
Majority 744 (3.5%)
Personal details
Born 19 July 1970 (1970-07-19) (age 41)
Irvine, North Ayrshire, Scotland
Nationality Scottish
Political party Scottish National Party
Spouse(s) Peter Murrell
Residence Glasgow
Alma mater University of Glasgow
Occupation Member of the Scottish Parliament
Profession Solicitor
Website Official website

Nicola Sturgeon (born 19 July 1970) is the Deputy First Minister of Scotland, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Cities Strategy, Deputy Leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) and Member (MSP) for Glasgow Southside.

Nicola Sturgeon became an MSP in the first elections to the Scottish Parliament in 1999, becoming the SNP's spokeswoman on justice, and later on education and health. In 2004, she announced that she would stand as a candidate for the leadership of the SNP following the resignation of John Swinney. However, she later withdrew from the contest in favour of Alex Salmond, but stood as Deputy Leader on a joint ticket with Salmond. Both were subsequently elected and Sturgeon led the SNP in the Scottish Parliament from 2004-2007 until Salmond was elected back to the Scottish Parliament in the 2007 election.

The SNP won the highest number of seats in the Scottish Parliament following the 2007 election and Salmond was subsequently appointed First Minister of Scotland. He appointed Sturgeon his Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing.

Contents

Background

Nicola Sturgeon was born in Irvine, North Ayrshire and educated at Greenwood Academy, Irvine, and later studied law at the University of Glasgow where she graduated with an LLB (Hons) and Diploma in Legal Practice.[1] At university, she was active in the SNP student wing through Glasgow University Scottish Nationalist Association. She worked as a solicitor in the Drumchapel Law Centre in Glasgow before becoming an MSP. She married Peter Murrell, the SNP's Chief Executive, on 16 July 2010. They had announced their engagement on 29 January 2010.

Early political career

Sturgeon joined the Scottish National Party in 1986 and became Youth Affairs Vice Convener and Publicity Vice Convener. She is also a member of the SNP's National Executive.[2] She first stood for election in the 1992 UK election as SNP's candidate in the Glasgow Shettleston constituency, and was the youngest parliamentary candidate in Scotland, although she failed to win the seat.

The 1997 general election saw Sturgeon selected to fight the Glasgow Govan seat for the SNP. Boundary changes meant that the notional Labour majority in the seat had increased substantially; however, infighting between the two rival candidates for the Labour nomination, Mohammed Sarwar and Mike Watson, along with an energetic local campaign, resulted in Glasgow Govan being the only UK seat to see a swing away from Labour in the midst of a Labour landslide UK-wide.

Scottish Parliament

Sturgeon stood for election to the Scottish Parliament in the 1999 and 2003 elections for the Glasgow Govan constituency. However she failed to win this constituency on both occasions. However in both elections, she was placed first in the regional list for the Glasgow region and was thus elected as an SNP additional member. She was appointed the SNP's spokeswoman for health, education and later for justice.

2004 SNP leadership contest

On 22 June 2004, John Swinney resigned as leader of the SNP, following poor results in the 2004 European Parliament election. His deputy, Roseanna Cunningham, announced her intention to stand for the leadership, and previous leader, Alex Salmond stated that he would not stand and refuse nomination.[3] On 24 June 2004, Nicola Sturgeon announced that she would also be a candidate in the forthcoming election for the leadership of the Scottish National Party, with Kenny MacAskill as her running mate for the Deputy leadership.[4]

However, Alex Salmond later staged a u-turn and announced he intended to stand (to resume the leadership, which he had resigned in 2000). Sturgeon withdrew from the contest and declared her support for Salmond, standing instead for the deputy leadership. It was reported that Salmond had privately supported Sturgeon in her leadership bid, but decided to run for the position himself as it became apparent she was unlikely to beat Roseanna Cunningham.[5] The majority of the SNP hierarchy lent their support to the Salmond-Sturgeon bid for the leadership, although MSP Alex Neil backed Salmond as leader, but refused to endorse Sturgeon as deputy leader.[6]

The results of the leadership contest were announced on 3 September 2004, with Salmond and Sturgeon elected as Leader and Deputy Leader. As Salmond was still an MP in the House of Commons, Sturgeon would lead the SNP at the Scottish Parliament until the 2007 election, when Salmond was elected as an MSP.[7]

Deputy Leader

Sturgeon after winning the Glasgow Govan seat at the 2007 election

As leader of the SNP in the Scottish Parliament, Nicola Sturgeon became a high profile figure in Scottish politics, and regularly clashed with the former First Minister, Jack McConnell at First Minister's Questions. This included rows over the House of Commons' decision to replace the Trident nuclear weapon system; and the SNP's plans to replace council tax in Scotland with a local income tax.[8]

Sturgeon defeated Gordon Jackson with a 4.7% swing to the SNP in the 2007 Scottish Parliamentary election in Govan. The SNP won 9,010 votes (41.9%) which was an increase of +10.7% while Labour received 8,266 votes or 38.4%.

After the SNP's victory at the 2007 Scottish Parliament Election, Sturgeon was appointed as the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing. She is supported in this role by Shona Robison MSP, the Minister for Public Health and Sport and by Alex Neil MSP, the Minister for Housing and Communities.

Acting in her capacity as Scottish Health Secretary Sturgeon has had a key role reporting the Scottish Government's response to the swine flu outbreak.[9]

Sturgeon has won the Donald Dewar Debater of the Year award on two occasions, in 2004 and in 2008. She also won the Scottish Politician of the Year Award in 2008.

References

External links

Scottish Parliament
Preceded by
Constituency established
Member of the Scottish Parliament for Glasgow Southside
2011–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Gordon Jackson
Member of the Scottish Parliament for Glasgow Govan
20072011
Succeeded by
Constituency abolished
Preceded by
Parliament established
Member of the Scottish Parliament for Glasgow
19992007
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
Nicol Stephen
Deputy First Minister of Scotland
2007–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Andy Kerr
(as Minister for Health and Community Care)
Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Cities Strategy
2007–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Roseanna Cunningham
Deputy Leader of the Scottish National Party
2004–present
Incumbent

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