Nicola Sturgeon set to resign as Scotland’s first minister, senior source tells Sky News | Politics News
Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon is set to resign, a senior Scottish government source has told Sky News.
The SNP leader is expected to make the shock announcement during a press conference in Edinburgh at her official residence, Bute House, at 11am.
Sky News’ political editor Beth Rigby understands the first minister will stay in post until somebody else takes over but said there was “not an obvious candidate”, raising “huge questions” for the future of her party.
Politics live: Sturgeon to address press conference after shock news
The reasons for her exit are also yet to be revealed, but SNP sources have told Beth Rigby the first minister had “just had enough”.
SNP MP Alison Thewliss said she was “absolutely gutted” about the news, adding: “Nicola has been an incredible leader.”
Her party colleague, MP Stewart McDonald, called Ms Sturgeon “the finest public servant of the devolution age” and would be “an enormous loss” to the country and party.
“Her public service, personal resilience and commitment to Scotland is unmatched, and she has served our party unlike anyone else,” he added.
Sturgeon’s exit will leave a huge hole to fill
Scottish politics has today been rocked to its core after the news of the first minister’s resignation, leaked out ahead of a hastily arranged press conference.
Nicola Sturgeon’s influence as the SNP’s leader cannot be overstated, spending almost a decade at the top that saw her party dominate north of the border.
During that time she has constantly threatened Westminster with the breakup of the union and has never ceased to drive towards a second Scottish independence referendum.
Her style has been combative, especially when it came to taking on the Conservative government – she described Boris Johnson as “possibly the worst prime minister of our lifetime”.
Until today she appeared determined to treat the next general election as a de facto independence vote having exhausted all other political and legal routes.
It seems that a lack of support within her party to push ahead with that plan may have sparked her departure, but that is not yet clear.
What is clear is that she will leave both a huge legacy and a hole at the top that the SNP will struggle to fill.
Ms Sturgeon has led the party and the country since 2014 after taking over from her predecessor, Alex Salmond.
But she has been involved the SNP all her adult life, joining the party at the age of 16.
As first minister, she has secured election successes at every poll and continued to push for Scottish independence, campaigning for a second referendum on the decision.
That, along with her strong anti-Brexit stance, has left her at loggerheads with the UK government, led by the Conservatives, who back keeping the UK together and have refused to offer up another vote.
A senior Labour source said her decision showed it was “all over” for the independence campaign, and showed “after 15 years of failure, the SNP have run out of road”.
There have been a number of tricky issues for Ms Sturgeon in recent months, including splits in the party over her approach to transgender rights, and over her bill on gender recognition
Despite passing the legislation in Holyrood – which would have meant people could legally change their gender in Scotland without a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria – the bill was then blocked by Westminster, with ministers claiming it would have a “significant impact” on equalities.
Sky News political correspondent Tamara Cohen said Ms Sturgeon’s popularity “had taken an unusual knock in recent months in polls, for the first time since she became first minister” but the news still came as a surprise.
There has also been change at the top of the SNP in Westminster in recent months, with Sturgeon ally Ian Blackford being replaced as leader in December by Stephen Flynn.