Cumbernauld's MSP gets promotion in Sturgeon's cabinet reshuffle

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 17:40 on 21 November 2014.
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Cumbernauld and Kilsyth SNP MSP, Jamie Hepburn.

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CUMBERNAULD and Kilsyth's SNP Member of The Scottish Parliament, Jamie Hepburn MSP, has earned himself a place in the newly announced Scottish Government cabinet - taking up his new role as Minister for Sport and Health Improvement.

Mr Hepburn, 35, takes up the post today (21st November) after newly elected First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon was approved by a vote in the Scottish Parliament, on Wednesday afternoon (19th November).

As part of Ms Sturgeon's reshuffle, former SNP Leader, John Swinney MSP has been appointed as Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Constitution and Economy, alongside the Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism, Fergus Ewing MSP; and, Minister for Parliamentary Business, Joe Fitzpatrick MSP. 

The Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities was confirmed as being Keith Brown MSP, who will be aided by the Minister for Transport and Islands, Derek Mackay MSP.

Roseanna Cunningham MSP has been appointed as Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training, while Annabelle Ewing MSP will serve as the Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment.

Ms Sturgeon confirmed too the rye Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning will be Angela Constance MSP, who will be aided by Aileen Campbell MSP - who retains her portfolio as Minister for Children and Young People, alongside Alasdair Allan MSP, who has stepped into his role as Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland’s Languages.

Shona Robison MSP, meanwhile - somebody who is known to be close to Ms Sturgeon - has been appointed as the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport, while Minister for Public Health, Maureen Watt MSP; and, the new Minister for Sport and Health Improvement, Jamie Hepburn MSP will aide her in her position.

Alex Neil MSP has been moved from Health and Wellbeing, and now becomes the new Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners’ Rights, alongside Marco Biagi MSP, Minister for Local Government and Community Empowerment; and, Margaret Burgess MSP, Minister for Housing and Welfare.

The new Cabinet Secretary for Justice has been confirmed as Michael Matheson MSP, while Paul Wheelhouse MSP becomes the new Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, in this portfolio.

Richard Lochhead MSP retains his position as the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment, while Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform has been named as Aileen McLeod MSP.

In another non-change, Fiona Hyslop MSP retains her portfolio as the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs. While, Humza Yousaf MSP too retains his position, as Minister for International Development, with added responsibility over Europe - to become the new Minister for Europe and International Development.

The newly assembled cabinet still has to be approved by the Scottish Parliament. However, the composition of the new cabinet comes with an added caveat - gender balance.

As the First Minister unveiled her new Cabinet, she made it clear she was taking the opportunity to make progress on equal representation for women by achieving it first in her own Cabinet appointments. In a Cabinet comprising the First Minister and nine Cabinet Secretaries, half will be women. The number of women in the Government overall now exceeds 40 per cent for the first time.

The First Minister also announced arrangements to cover the first occasion in the lifetime of the Scottish Government when a Minister will take maternity leave.

Commenting, First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon described the new cabinet as a "team of... talents, which will take forward this Government’s priorities for Scotland."

“The aims of my government are clear: to create a nation that is both social democratic and socially just, a nation that is confident in itself and governed effectively and a nation which will address poverty, support business, promote growth and tackle inequality," the First Minister explained.

Ms Sturgeon added: "The new Cabinet team I have announced today will pursue these priorities with verve, vigour and determination.

“Every member of the Cabinet is part of this Government’s top team on merit, on the basis of the excellent work they have already done as Ministers. The Cabinet line-up is also a clear demonstration that this Government will work hard in all areas to promote women, to create gender equality and it sends out a strong message that the business of redressing the gender balance in public life starts right here in Government.

“I said earlier this week that we will be leading by example on equal representation, and encourage others to follow by addressing low pay and improving childcare. The Cabinet appointments I have made today will ensure these issues have the highest priority.

“I also want to take the opportunity to thank outgoing Cabinet Secretaries Kenny MacAskill and Mike Russell for their sterling work in government.

“I am confident that we are now equipped with the men and women who will go forward and deliver on these aspirations to create a better Scotland.”
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