LIBDEM LEADER: Sands of Scottish politics are now shifting in big and unpredictable ways

Good and bad, this chamber will debate her legacy long after her departure

Responding to Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation statement in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP, pictured right,  said:

“Presiding Officer, those of us who seek a life in public service must deal with events and times as we find them, not as we would wish them to be.

“Regardless of what circumstance throws our way, it is incumbent on all of us to commit to the task before us, to seek the best for our communities and in so doing, try, always to reflect the better natures of the people we seek to serve.

“As the first woman to achieve this office of First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon has provided inspiration to the women and girls who will doubtless follow her to this, the highest office in the land.

“She had been Scotland’s First Minister through some of the darkest hours in our modern history. I think it is important to recognise her tireless and substantial commitment to the office that she has held for longer than anybody else.

“That tireless commitment was no more evident than in the worst days of the pandemic. A time of unprecedented anxiety for our country when she offered a voice of calm to people stuck at home.

“She will be aware of the times that she has walked in step with my party, when she adopted our polices on things like childcare and the pupil premium. She will recognise the times when we have voted with her – sometimes against the prevailing wind.

“On the physical punishment of children, on alcohol pricing, on advancing the rights of Scotland’s LGBT+ community.

“She has acknowledged some historic wrongs as well, like yesterday for the victims of forced adoption.

“She knows my background and as such I will always appreciate her continuing dedication to young Scots currently in the care of the state or who have experience of the Scottish care system.

“Good and bad, this chamber will debate her legacy long after her departure.

“The First Minister and I are very different people, our visions for the future of Scotland and the United Kingdom just do not align.

“But I recognise hard work when I see it. I am also grateful for the kindness she has done me personally on occasion. Indeed, the words of comfort she once offered me in private conversation when my daughter was hospitalised, are something I will not forget.

“The sands of Scottish politics are now shifting in big and unpredictable ways.

“This is a moment, it’s a crossroads, a chance to do things differently and people are now looking for inspiration, people are looking for new hope.

“Presiding Officer, I’d like to finish by thanking Nicola Sturgeon, and indeed her deputy John Swinney, for their service to our country and I wish them well with whatever comes next.”

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