Long-serving ministers depart as Sturgeon reshuffles cabinet

Fergus Ewing and Fiona Hyslop both standing down from their positions in the Scottish Government.

Long-serving ministers depart as Sturgeon reshuffles cabinet Getty ImagesGetty Images
Fergus Ewing and Fiona Hyslop are leaving the Scottish Government.

Two of the longest-serving ministers in the Scottish Government are leaving their positions, as First Minister Nicola Sturgeon carries out a cabinet reshuffle.

Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for culture, tourism and external affairs, and Fergus Ewing, cabinet secretary for rural economy, are stepping down from ministerial office.

The First Minister will reveal her new cabinet and junior ministerial line-up later on Wednesday. 

Sturgeon said: “I want to pay tribute to the work of both Fiona Hyslop and Fergus Ewing and to thank them for their unstinting public service over many years. 

“Fiona has served in Cabinet since 2007, firstly as Education Secretary, then as Culture and External Affairs Secretary before taking on the Economy and Fair Work portfolio. 

“Her tenure in the External Affairs brief saw Fiona oversee the expansion of the Scottish Government’s international footprint, giving our country a higher profile than it has ever had before on the global stage, and that is a legacy which she can and should be justly proud of. 

“Fergus has also been part of the ministerial team since 2007, and has brought diligence and endeavour to all of the jobs he has held. In particular, he has worked tirelessly with and on behalf of Scotland’s rural sector over the past five years since the Brexit vote, fighting their corner at every turn.

“Fergus has been a champion for Scotland’s farmers and crofters during one of the most difficult, challenging and uncertain periods our agricultural sector has ever faced, and he has the gratitude of many in the industry for his efforts to protect their interests. 

“I want to offer my sincere thanks to Fiona and Fergus for their service, and wish them well as they continue to serve their constituents in the new Parliament.”  

The First Minister also tweeted a photo of her appointing Shirley-Anne Somerville to the cabinet via zoom, but said her portfolio would be revealed later on Wednesday.

A member of Somerville’s household is currently in self-isolation after receiving a text saying they had been in close contact with someone who has recently tested positive for Covid-19.

On Tuesday, Sturgeon reappointed John Swinney as deputy first minister, as well as making him the cabinet secretary for Covid recovery.

It was the first of the new appointments to Sturgeon’s cabinet after she was re-elected as First Minister by MSPs.

Swinney has been deputy first minister since 2014 and held the position of education secretary between 2016 and 2021.

The new role will involve Swinney chairing a cross-party steering group on Covid recovery which is expected to hold its first meeting next week.

MSPs voted to re-elect Sturgeon to the position, which she has held since November 2014, in a vote at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday.

The vote formalises the process for the SNP leader to become First Minister, ahead of her name being put forward to the Queen to be confirmed in office.

Sturgeon highlighted the importance of recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, addressing the climate emergency and giving Scotland a choice on its future in making her nomination speech.

The only other candidates for the position were Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross and Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Willie Rennie.