John Swinney axes minister for independence role | UK News

John Swinney has axed the post of minister for independence from his cabinet team.

The role, the first of its kind, was created last year by then first minister Humza Yousaf.

Jamie Hepburn, who previously held the Scottish government post, has now taken over from George Adam as minister for parliamentary business.

Jamie Hepburn, then minister for independence, pictured last summer alongside then first minister Humza Yousaf and then deputy first minister Shona Robison. Pic: PA

Mr Swinney was legally sworn in as Scotland’s seventh first minister at the Court of Session in Edinburgh on Wednesday morning.

He unveiled a largely unchanged cabinet but did appoint Kate Forbes as his deputy.

A team of 14 ministers was later announced, with the minister for independence role dropped.

First Minister John Swinney outside Bute House with his newly appointed cabinet. Pic: Reuters/Lesley Martin
First Minister John Swinney outside Bute House with his newly appointed cabinet. Pic: Reuters/Lesley Martin

Mr Swinney was unopposed in the SNP leadership contest following Mr Yousaf’s resignation and promised a “new chapter” for the party.

As first minister, he has pledged to use “respect and courtesy” to make the case for Scottish independence.

Later on Thursday, he will take part in First Minister’s Questions for the first time in his new role.

Read more:
Who is John Swinney?

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First Minister of Scotland Humza Yousaf (centre) takes part in a Believe in Scotland march from Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh. Picture date: Saturday September 2, 2023.
Humza Yousaf and Lorna Slater taking part in a Believe in Scotland march in Edinburgh last September. Pic: PA

Willie Rennie said he is “delighted” the ministerial post is gone.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats MSP for North East Fife said: “For months I have been campaigning to free the Cumbernauld One from the drudgery of producing independence paper after independence paper that no one reads.

“I am delighted to say that goal has now been achieved.

“The Scottish government needs to have a laser focus on the issues that really matter, like tackling long waits for healthcare and violence in our schools.”

The Scottish government has been contacted for comment.

The Scottish cabinet. Pic: SPICe/Scottish parliament
The Scottish cabinet. Pic: SPICe/Scottish parliament

• Kate Forbes, the youngest-ever deputy first minister, will take on the economy portfolio and responsibility for Gaelic
• Shona Robison remains in cabinet with responsibility for finance and local government
• Jenny Gilruth remains cabinet secretary for education and skills
• Angela Constance remains cabinet secretary for justice and home affairs
• Mairi McAllan remains in cabinet with responsibility for net zero and energy
• Fiona Hyslop remains cabinet secretary for transport
• Neil Gray remains cabinet secretary for health and social care
• Shirley-Anne Somerville remains cabinet secretary for social justice
• Angus Robertson remains cabinet secretary for constitution, external affairs and culture
• Mairi Gougeon remains cabinet secretary for rural affairs, land reform and islands

• Jamie Hepburn, minister for parliamentary business
• Richard Lochhead, minister for business
• Tom Arthur, minister for employment and investment
• Ivan McKee, minister for public finance
• Natalie Don, minister for children, young people and The Promise
• Graeme Dey, minister for higher and further education
• Siobhian Brown, minister for victims and community safety
• Gillian Martin, minister for climate action
• Jim Fairlie, minister for agriculture and connectivity
• Jenni Minto, minister for public health and women’s health
• Maree Todd, minister for social care, mental wellbeing and sport
• Christina McKelvie, minister for drugs and alcohol policy
• Kaukab Stewart, minister for equalities
• Paul McLennan, minister for housing


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