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by Gemma Fraser
17 February 2020
First Minister unveils cabinet reshuffle after Derek Mackay resignation

Kate Forbes and Nicola Sturgeon - Image credit: Jane Barlow/PA Wire/PA Images

First Minister unveils cabinet reshuffle after Derek Mackay resignation

Kates Forbes will become Scotland’s new Finance Secretary, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

It follows the resignation of Derek Mackay, who was forced to step down from the post after details of him sending inappropriate text messages to a schoolboy emerged.

Forbes stepped in at the last minute to deliver Mackay’s budget earlier this month.

Sturgeon has also announced that Fiona Hyslop will take on the new job of Economy, Fair Work and Culture Secretary, replacing her existing role as External Affairs Secretary.

As the process of Brexit, and the discussion on Scotland’s constitutional future move into a new phase, Michael Russell’s responsibilities will be expanded as Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, Europe and External Affairs.

Fergus Ewing will take on the role as Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism.

Jenny Gilruth is also set to join the Scottish Government as Minister for Europe and International Development, where she will support Russell.

Ben Macpherson will move to join the finance team as Minister for Public Finance and Migration.

He will also work on issues around green and climate finance, to help ensure Scotland can deliver its target of ending its contribution to climate change. He will also be tasked with ensuring that wellbeing sits at the heart of the budget process.

The First Minister will propose the new appointments of Kate Forbes and Jenny Gilruth to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday.

As a result of these changes, and excluding the Law Officers, the Scottish Government will be fully gender balanced at 13 men and 13 women, and seven out of the 12 members of cabinet are women.

Sturgeon said: “These appointments bring new talent into government and deliver a real focus, not only on driving forward our economy, but also on addressing the challenges of Brexit, increasing our population and ending Scotland’s contribution to the climate crisis.

“I am pleased to make these appointments and – in particular – to be able to put Scotland’s finances and Scotland’s economy into the hands of two incredibly talented colleagues.

“Fiona Hyslop has been an outstanding Cabinet Secretary, delivering a successful expansion of Scotland’s overseas presence and recognition, supporting our booming tourism industry and demonstrating the huge importance of culture - not just to our economy, but more importantly to who we are and how we see ourselves.

“I know she will bring that drive, passion and sharp focus to Scotland’s economy. Working alongside Kate Forbes as the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, she will continue to drive forward our economy, support our key industries and maintain Scotland’s long tradition as an outward-looking, dynamic and enterprising nation.

“Ben Macpherson will continue to make the case for Scotland to have a distinct migration system in order to meet our economic, social and financial needs – and as Public Finance Minister will also take the lead on identifying ways to fund climate action, and he will work across government to build a wellbeing economy.

“Jenny Gilruth will join government for the first time – having proven herself as a talented and hard-working MSP – and takes on the role of Minister for Europe and International Development. She will have the important task of promoting Scotland, building new links in a post-Brexit environment and delivering on our global responsibilities – and I know she is more than up to that challenge.”


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