Subscribe to Holyrood updates

Newsletter sign-up


Follow us

Scotland’s fortnightly political & current affairs magazine


Subscribe to Holyrood
by Louise Wilson
30 March 2023
First Minister defends appointment of Gillian Martin

First Minister defends appointment of Gillian Martin

Humza Yousaf has defended his decision to promote Gillian Martin to government despite offensive comments she made in the past.

The First Minister made Martin the energy minister on Wednesday.

Nicola Sturgeon previously attempted to appoint Martin as higher and further education minister in 2018, but had to backtrack after blog posts written by Martin from before she was elected came to light.

Yousaf said: “She has apologised for those remarks. She has apologised to me, also, for those remarks when we had a discussion about her appointment.

“Gillian has been on a journey and I think if you look at, for example, her fulsome support of the GRR [Gender Recognition Reform] Bill, it shows the journey that she has been on.”

He confirmed the Scottish Greens had not raised any concerns about her appointment.

A spokesperson for the First Minister later added that while Martin’s previous comments were “unacceptable”, it was a “number of years ago” and she had since shown herself to be an “LGBT ally”.

“Over the passage of time, I think people have seen what Gillian Martin is like as a politician. Of course, she was re-elected last time round in her constituency, and she's got a lot to offer the government as well,” the spokesperson added.

The blog post in question dates back to 2007. Martin, a former college lecturer, made reference to “hairy knuckled lipstickwearing transitional transgender Laydees”.

When the comments were unearthed in 2018, Martin said she “unreservedly apologised” for them.

And in an interview with Holyrood last year, Martin said she was "embarassed" by the situation and that the withdrawal of her job offer five years ago was justified.

Holyrood Newsletters

Holyrood provides comprehensive coverage of Scottish politics, offering award-winning reporting and analysis: Subscribe

Read the most recent article written by Louise Wilson - John Swinney election campaign launch overshadowed by Michael Matheson row.

Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox

Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox


Popular reads
Back to top