Richard Lochhead

Moray SNP News



“Like so many people, I am sorry that our longest serving and first female First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has decided to stand down.

“Few will blame her given the relentless pressures of the job and today’s political environment can be brutal at times, as she pointed out. I expect most people will understand and accept her reasons.

“Nicola and myself were elected back in 1999 in the first Scottish Parliament, and it has been an absolute honour to work alongside her throughout these years and especially since we have been in government since 2007. 

“She has been an outstanding leader who never wavers from her principles and is always straight with people – these are becoming rarer qualities in politicians these days.  She has also gained a strong international profile given the respect in which she is held across the world.

“In particular, constituents in Moray always tell me how impressed they were with her leadership throughout the pandemic and always said ‘how does she do it?’. The truth of course is that leadership takes its toll and no-wonder she now wants to look to the next chapter of her life. We are all human and can’t work at such a pace for ever.

“She has built up a tremendous legacy. Under her leadership she won a record result for the SNP in the 2015 elections when Labour in Scotland lost 40 of their 41 seats up to the most recent elections in 2021 when she was re-elected as First Minister on the back of a record breaking vote. Support for independence has also grown under her leadership and the case for Scotland to be an independent country has never been stronger or more credible.

“It’s a sad day for Scotland but I wish Nicola every good fortune and happiness.”