Mike Russell named new Scottish Government Brexit minister

Written by Tom Freeman on 25 August 2016 in News

Michael Russell returns to cabinet as new Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe

Mike Russell - Holyrood

Former Education Secretary Michael Russell has returned to cabinet after being appointed to a new government post in charge of negotiations following the vote to leave the European Union.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the appointment of the Argyll and Bute MSP to the new role of Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe.

Russell will attend cabinet as well as representing Scotland in negotiations with Westminster on the European Union. He will report directly to Sturgeon.


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Seen as an stubborn negotiator, Russell has previously been environment minister, then culture minister, but is best known for being the Education Secretary from 2009-2014, when he was moved out of cabinet in Sturgeon’s first reshuffle.

He then became a professor in culture and governance at the University of Glasgow, and was re-elected to the seat of Argyll and Bute in May.

He said he was “delighted” with the new role.

“Following the overwhelming vote in Scotland to remain in the EU, it is essential that Scotland comes together to defend our national interest,” he said.

“Accordingly in these discussions, it is important that the nation speaks, as much as possible, with one voice. I will therefore want to listen and learn from the widest range of individuals, communities, organisations and companies about their hopes and fears for the future.”

Nicola Sturgeon said having a dedicated minister in charge would “ensure Scotland’s voice is heard loudly and clearly” in negotiations.

“We already have an agreement with the new Prime Minister that the Scottish Government should be fully involved in the development of the UK Government’s position ahead of Article 50 being triggered and beyond, and that options to protect Scotland’s relationship with Europe will form part of these discussions.”

The appointment will open up the convenership of the Scottish parliament’s Finance Committee, which Russell held.

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