Nicola Sturgeon MSP

Welcome to Nicola Sturgeon MSP's biography pages

Nicola Sturgeon MSP

Here you can find out about your MSPs' political activities and how to get in touch with them.

  • Member for: Glasgow Southside
  • Region: Glasgow
  • Party: Scottish National Party

Nicola is a member of the following Committees:

Nicola is a member of the following Cross-Party Groups:

Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by The First Minister (Nicola Sturgeon)

Meeting of the Parliament 18 December 2014 : Thursday, December 18, 2014
The First Minister

I will be very brief, Presiding Officer.

I thank James Kelly for his remarks. I have to say that I was shocked to hear that Fiona McLeod is a librarian—I have never heard her talk about that before. [Laughter.] Obviously, I jest, but I endorse James Kelly’s comments, particularly his remark about the importance of reading in the development of young minds.

I also thank Jackson Carlaw. I have already carefully considered the issue of a water bearer, which I think is an important appointment. Since my appointment as First Minister, I have tried very hard to do things differently, and today I have taken the decision—and I hope that my ministerial colleagues will bear with me on this—that I am going to start getting my own water. I hope that my ministerial colleagues will follow suit.

As for Mr Carlaw’s innovative proposal, I would expect nothing less from him. I am delighted to learn that he was watching my tour—it is probably the closest he will get to filling a 12,000-seater stadium—but when he suggested an “X Factor”-style vote, Aileen Campbell and Fiona McLeod whispered to me that they elect a dance-off instead. We will go with that, if that is okay.

I also thank Jean Urquhart very much. I will close by echoing her comments: I can think of no one better to fill the post than Fiona McLeod, and I hope that the chamber will give her its unanimous support this afternoon.



Meeting of the Parliament 18 December 2014 : Thursday, December 18, 2014
The First Minister (Nicola Sturgeon)

I rise to speak to and move the motion in my name, which asks the Parliament to agree that Fiona McLeod be appointed as a junior Scottish minister. As members will be aware, the reason for the appointment is that, as of today, Aileen Campbell, the Minister for Children and Young People, is going on maternity leave from her ministerial duties.

I have made very clear something that I think is supported across the chamber: it is a priority for me during my tenure as First Minister to ensure greater opportunities for women—indeed, to shatter the glass ceiling. An essential part of that is encouraging and supporting parental leave, especially maternity leave, as a way of enabling working parents to care for young children and then return to the workplace.

I believe that this is the first occasion in the lifetime of the Scottish Parliament on which a Scottish minister has taken maternity leave. It is absolutely standard practice in other working environments for women to go on maternity leave and have somebody else take over their duties, so I really hope that Aileen’s example contributes in a small way to making politics more normal. The Parliament should never be exempt from what we see as good practice in other workplaces; instead we should seek to set a clear example wherever possible.

I am therefore delighted on behalf of—I am sure—the whole chamber to wish Aileen, Fraser and Angus well over the coming months. We very much look forward to seeing Aileen back next year.

I can also confirm to Parliament that Aileen has chosen to give up 59 per cent of her ministerial salary entitlement during her planned period of maternity leave, which means that she will receive, on an averaged-out basis, the statutory maternity pay equivalent of her ministerial salary, which is 90 per cent of salary for six weeks, followed by weekly payments of £138.18. She has requested that the amount that she is foregoing be allocated to the Scottish Government’s children and families budget. [Applause.]

I am absolutely delighted to recommend Fiona McLeod for appointment as acting Minister for Children and Young People for the period of Aileen’s maternity leave. Fiona became a member of the Parliament in 1999, in the first session, serving as shadow deputy minister for education, children and sport. Since returning to the Parliament in 2011, she has served extremely well as a senior whip and as a member of the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee. Outside her political work, and among many other roles and achievements, she was a volunteer founder of and youth worker with Westerton junior youth club.

Fiona is an extremely experienced politician, with a deep understanding of the challenges facing children, young people, parents and carers. I think that she will do an excellent job in her new portfolio. She will work very closely with all her ministerial colleagues, including, of course, Angela Constance, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning. All in all, I think that she is extremely well qualified to stand in over the next few months for an extremely able minister.

The appointment ensures that a highly able minister will be in place to look after an immensely important set of responsibilities during Aileen’s maternity leave. Since taking over as First Minister, I have said that opportunities for young people and making sure that we give them the best start in life are extremely important. It is therefore vital that we have somebody with Fiona’s capability steering those responsibilities.

Without further ado, it gives me enormous pleasure to move,

That the Parliament agrees that Fiona McLeod be appointed as a junior Scottish Minister.

14:34  

Meeting of the Parliament 18 December 2014 : Thursday, December 18, 2014
The First Minister

I congratulate Sarah Boyack on her new shadow cabinet post.

Sarah Boyack knows what the specific policies are that we think we need to achieve, because they are laid out in some considerable detail in the RPP. They go right across the spectrum of our responsibilities—on housing, on transport and on agriculture. Some of the targets are challenging and difficult to achieve, which is why we need to continue to challenge ourselves to do more. If those targets were easy to meet, they would not be ambitious enough. Let us all resolve, then, to keep doing what we need to do.

There is a lesson here for all of us as politicians. In my experience in government, which now stretches over seven years, I have found that we hear calls from Opposition members to do things, until those things become controversial, and then they oppose us doing those things. Let us all be determined, not just to have warm words on this issue, but to follow through with the brave action that is needed.



Meeting of the Parliament 18 December 2014 : Thursday, December 18, 2014
The First Minister

We will seek to ensure that, as well as its other objectives, everything that we do through our international aid programme helps to reduce emissions. Humza Yousaf, the Minister for Europe and International Development, would be happy to talk to Rod Campbell in greater detail.

Perhaps the greatest thing that we can continue to do, not just in respect of developing countries but overall, is to challenge ourselves to lead by example. In so many areas, actions speak louder than words. Let us keep doing the right things; in doing that, we can encourage others to follow our example.



Meeting of the Parliament 18 December 2014 : Thursday, December 18, 2014
The First Minister

First, I agree whole-heartedly with Patrick Harvie that there is no point in setting targets if your determination is not to meet them. We will continue, through the report on proposals and policies and further iterations of that document, to look very critically at the policy interventions that we are making, where we are not succeeding in some of those interventions and where we need to do more. We will continue, as we have done in the past, to seek to involve the entire chamber in that process.

On a positive note, in the context of that question it is worth noting that figures out just this morning show that, for the first time ever in Scotland, generation from renewables accounts for the same proportion of total generation as fossil fuels. There is much for us still to do, but we are making good progress and we have the ambition to do more. I would hope that everybody could welcome that progress.



Meeting of the Parliament 18 December 2014 : Thursday, December 18, 2014
The First Minister (Nicola Sturgeon)

The Lima call for climate action has kept the international negotiations moving forward, although with very important issues—principally, the overall level of global ambition—yet to be resolved. Scotland has already unilaterally set challenging targets, both pre and post-2020, with a world-leading target of at least a 42 per cent emissions cut by 2020 and a 58 per cent cut by 2027. That is in line with what the climate science tells us we have to do.

Scotland’s targets are not easy, but they are at the level that the international community needs to match if the new universal climate treaty in Paris next year is to stand a good chance of limiting the global temperature rise to no more than 2°C, as the international community has already agreed to do.



Meeting of the Parliament 18 December 2014 : Thursday, December 18, 2014
The First Minister

I thank Dave Stewart for his question and the tone in which he asked it. I acknowledge his long-standing interest and expertise in this area. I could not agree more with the sentiment—or indeed the substance—of his question. I would be delighted to convene a cross-party campaign from the chamber to seek to persuade the UK Government to change its mind. I am happy to have further discussions with Dave Stewart and his colleagues on that matter.



Meeting of the Parliament 18 December 2014 : Thursday, December 18, 2014
The First Minister (Nicola Sturgeon)

The Scottish Government absolutely does not support the closure of the aeronautical rescue co-ordination centre at Kinloss. The relocation of the centre represents the latest in a series of disproportionate cuts to military personnel and MOD civilian staff in Scotland. It also follows previous United Kingdom Government cuts to the coastguard service, which this Government also strongly opposed.

I am disappointed that the Scottish Government was not alerted to the closure and so held no discussions with the MOD in advance of its announcement. Following that announcement, the Government contacted the MOD for urgent assurances that the closure would have no detrimental impact on search and rescue provision, tasking or co-ordination in Scotland. Subsequently, the Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities wrote to the Secretary of State for Defence to confirm that the Scottish Government does not support the decision and to note our disappointment that we were neither consulted nor notified in advance of the announcement, despite the very significant devolved interests that are involved.



Meeting of the Parliament 18 December 2014 : Thursday, December 18, 2014
The First Minister

I certainly agree with Christine Grahame that the issues raised about rendition flights should be fully and thoroughly investigated, not least where there has been any active criminality. I support Christine Grahame’s call for the UK Government to open an independent, judge-led inquiry into these matters.

As I indicated in my earlier answer, there is an on-going criminal investigation into the alleged use of Scottish airports for rendition flights. I am sure that arrangements could be made to ensure that a judge-led inquiry and the Police Scotland investigation could take place in parallel so that these matters were scrutinised fully, as they deserve to be.



Meeting of the Parliament 18 December 2014 : Thursday, December 18, 2014
The First Minister (Nicola Sturgeon)

The Scottish Government strongly opposes so-called rendition flights. Scotland has always been a country that respects the rights and responsibilities of all its citizens and the rule of law. The Scottish Government has not and will not approve a policy of facilitating the transfer of individuals through Scottish territory or air space to places where there are substantial grounds to believe that they would face a real risk of torture.

There is already an on-going Police Scotland investigation directed by the Lord Advocate into the alleged use of Scottish airports for so-called rendition flights. I hope that everybody in the chamber will agree that that must be allowed to run its course.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-11901.3 Neil Findlay: Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce—As an amendment to motion S4M-11901
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11901.1 Mary Scanlon: Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce—As an amendment to motion S4M-11901
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11830.2 John Swinney: The Smith Commission—As an amendment to motion S4M-11830 in the name of Ru
>> Show more
Not VotedCarried

S4M-11830 Ruth Davidson: The Smith Commission—That the Parliament welcomes the publication of the Sm
>> Show more
Not VotedCarried

Amendment 6 moved by Dr Richard Simpson on motion S4M-11826 Maureen Watt: Food (Scotland) Bill—That
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-11825.3 Claire Baker: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the n
>> Show more
Not VotedDefeated

S4M-11825.2 Jamie McGrigor: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the
>> Show more
Not VotedDefeated

S4M-11825.1 Tavish Scott: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the n
>> Show more
Not VotedDefeated

S4M-11825 Richard Lochhead: End of Year Fish Negotiations—That the Parliament welcomes the successfu
>> Show more
Not VotedCarried

S4M-11763.3 Margaret Burgess: Private Sector Rent Reform—As an amendment to motion S4M-11763 in the
>> Show more
YesCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Nicola Sturgeon
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11926: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow Southside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11673: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow Southside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11672: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow Southside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 24/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11380: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow Southside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 31/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11301: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow Southside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11116.1: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow Southside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 07/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10777: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow Southside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10739: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow Southside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10353.3: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow Southside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10005: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow Southside, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
This Member currently holds a ministerial post. First Minister and Ministers cannot ask the Government questions which is why no recent questions are displaying here. Please use the full search to find details of previous questions by this Member.
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S2F-02139: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/02/2006 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-18574: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/08/2005 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-18575: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/08/2005 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-18531: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/08/2005 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-18537: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/08/2005 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-18534: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/08/2005 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-18532: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/08/2005 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-18535: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/08/2005 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-18536: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/08/2005 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-18533: Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/08/2005 Show Full Question >>

Further information

Email our Public Information Service for more information.