John Swinney sworn in as Scotland’s first minister | UK News

John Swinney has been legally sworn in as Scotland’s seventh first minister.

The 60-year-old is now Keeper of the Scottish Seal, also known as the Great Seal, after taking the oath of office and pledging his allegiance to the King.

The seal allows the monarch to authorise official documents without having to sign each one.

As Keeper of the Scottish Seal, Mr Swinney now has the authority to make decisions on behalf of the crown, which effectively means he can lead the country with the support of the Scottish parliament.

Mr Swinney taking the oath. Pic: PA

John Swinney takes the oath as he is sworn in as First Minister of Scotland and Keeper of the Scottish Seal, at the Court of Session in Edinburgh. Picture date: Wednesday May 8, 2024.
Pic: PA

The ceremony took place at the Court of Session in Edinburgh in front of Scotland’s most senior judge, the Lord President Lord Carloway.

Mr Swinney’s family, including his wife Elizabeth, brother David, and 13-year-old son Matthew, accompanied him to court.

John Swinney, with his wife Elizabeth Quigley, on the steps of Bute House in Edinburgh, the official residence of the First Minister, after he was voted by MSPs to be Scotland's next first minister, succeeding Humza Yousaf who formally resigned from the post earlier on Tuesday. Picture date: Tuesday May 7, 2024.
Mr Swinney with his wife Elizabeth Quigley on the steps of Bute House on Tuesday. Pic: PA

Mr Swinney, who has replaced Humza Yousaf as SNP leader, is now expected to begin appointing his cabinet.

A “significant” role has been promised to former finance secretary Kate Forbes, who chose not to run in the SNP leadership race and instead threw her support behind Mr Swinney.

The first minister pledged to devote himself to the job after winning Holyrood’s backing. It came following the SNP leadership race in which he stood unopposed.

Read more:
Who is John Swinney?

Newly elected leader of the SNP John Swinney, with outgoing FM Humza Yousaf and former FM Nicola Sturgeon. Pic: PA
Mr Swinney with former first ministers Humza Yousaf and Nicola Sturgeon. Pic: PA

Mr Swinney, who was deputy first minister under Nicola Sturgeon, previously said he is “no interim leader” and intends to lead the SNP beyond the next general and Scottish elections.

He has vowed to focus on the economy, jobs, the cost of living, the NHS, education, public services, and the climate crisis.

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John Swinney offers ‘eternal gratitude’ to his wife

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The first minister has confirmed he has no intention of reinstating the Bute House Agreement with the Scottish Greens and will instead take issues on a case-by-case basis with a minority administration of 63 MSPs.

Mr Swinney told opposition parties at the Scottish parliament: “If we want to fund our schools and hospitals, if we want to give our businesses a competitive edge, if we want to take climate action, if we want to eradicate child poverty, if we want to change people’s lives for the better, we have got to work together to do so.”

He also thanked his wife Elizabeth, who has multiple sclerosis (MS), making clear his “profound eternal gratitude” to her for “the sacrifices she is prepared to make” so he could take on the job.


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