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Fergus Ewing named MSP of the Year at Holyrood Garden Party and Political Awards

Fergus Ewing named MSP of the Year at Holyrood Garden Party and Political Awards

Fergus Ewing has been named MSP of the Year at Holyrood’s annual Political Awards, which also saw human rights barrister and Labour peer Baroness Helena Kennedy KC take home the Lifetime Achievement gong.

Held at Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden last night, the event also honoured Maurice Golden, who was awarded the Green Giant Award for the second year running, and net zero secretary Màiri McAllan, who was named this year’s One to Watch.

Kennedy, who last year completed a review that led to First Minister Humza Yousaf announcing anti-misogyny legislation in this week’s Programme for Government, said she was honoured to receive an award that recognises the contribution she has made to Scottish political life.

“I am really delighted to receive this award. Made in Scotland runs through me like the letters in a stick of rock and gave me my values,” she said.  

“I have loved doing work that retains my strong links with Scotland like the report on misogyny, or the one on refugees’ welfare during the Covid crisis or being in the First Minister’s Advisory Council on Women and Girls.  

“I am also a great fan of Holyrood magazine, which keeps people like me at Westminster abreast of political currents and policy developments in Scotland as well as the gossip. So, a huge thank you from my heart for this award. I am truly honoured.”  

The award was presented to Kennedy by former Lord Advocate Dame Elish Angiolini, who said she was delighted to pay tribute to such an “outstanding human being”.

“Helena Kennedy remains an indefatigable inspiration to lawyers across the world and continues to this day to fight for fundamental human rights, equality, civil liberties, and justice for all,” Angiolini said.

“Despite her huge achievements and international reputation, she remains a down to earth, funny and caring Glaswegian. She is an extraordinary ambassador for Scotland.” 

The awards judging panel was chaired by Mandy Rhodes, managing director of Holyrood publisher Holyrood Communications. She was joined by a range of journalists, commentators and politicians including Kieran Andrews, Scottish political editor of The Times and Sunday Times, Strathclyde University professor of politics Sir John Curtice, and Holyrood editorial panel member and former finance secretary Kate Forbes.

Rhodes said the event “once again provided an opportunity for everyone to put their political differences aside and celebrate everything that is good about Scottish politics”.  

“This has undeniably been an extraordinary year in Scottish politics and that was reflected in the many and diverse nominations that came in,” she said.

“There was a lot for the prestigious panel of judges, which includes MSPs from across the parties as well as a former presiding officer, pollsters, and political editors from Scottish newspaper titles, to consider, argue and chew over.

“These awards are never about currying favour but all about recognising the role that all our politicians play in running the country.  And also, about retaining a sense of fun. 

The judging panel was incredibly impressed with the standard of nominations so congratulations to all of our winners and shortlisted entries.”

The winners in full: 

One to Watch in association with True North 

Winner: Màiri McAllan

Runners up: Russell Findlay and Paul O’Kane

Speech of the Year in association with Drax

Winner: Donald Cameron

Runners up: Jamie Greene and Michael Marra

Tweet of the Day in association with Holyrood Communications

Winner: Liam McArthur

Runners up: Stephen Kerr and Douglas Ross

The Powering Change Award in association with SSE

Winner: Finance and Public Administration Committee 

Runners up: Covid-19 Committee and Public Audit Committee 

The Green Giant Award in association with Electricity System Operator (ESO)

Winner: Maurice Golden

Runners up: Gillian Mackay and Colin Smyth; Willie Rennie and Alex Cole-Hamilton

Flushable Motion of the Year in association with Scottish Water

Winner: Liam Kerr

Runners up: Stephanie Callaghan and Liam McArthur 

Political Hero of the Year in association with Diageo

Winner: Michelle Thomson

Runners up: Rachael Hamilton and Ash Regan

Political Staffer of the Year in association with the Law Society of Scotland

Winner: Lesley Gulland 

Runners up: Roberta Kirosingh and Daniel McCroskrie 

Best Scot at Westminster in association with Chivas Brothers

Winner: Stephen Flynn

Runners up: Wendy Chamberlain and Alister Jack

MSP of the Year in association with Coca Cola Europacific Partners

Winner: Fergus Ewing

Runner up: Alison Johnstone and Anas Sarwar

Backbencher of the Year in association with Stromar

Winner: Paul Sweeney

Runners up: Russell Findlay and Jamie Greene

Open All Hours Award in association with Scottish Grocers’ Federation

Winner: Foysol Choudhury

Runners up: Bob Doris and Tess White

The Business of Politics Award in association with the Scotch Whisky Association

Winner: Ivan McKee

Runners up: Anas Sarwar and the joint Highland Green Freeport MSPs and MPs 

Lifetime Achievement Award in association with the Royal Bank of Scotland

Winner:  Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws KC

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