First Minister of Scotland

The First Minister of Scotland (Scottish Gaelic: Prìomh Mhinistear na h-Alba; Scots: Heid Meinister o Scotland) is the leader of the Scottish Government. The First Minister chairs the Scottish Cabinet and is primarily responsible for the formulation, development and presentation of Scottish Government policy.[2] Additional functions of the First Minister include promoting and representing Scotland in an official capacity, at home and abroad, and responsibility for constitutional affairs, as they relate to devolution and the Scottish Government.[2]

The First Minister is a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) and nominated by the Scottish Parliament before being officially appointed by the monarch. Members of the Cabinet and junior ministers of the Scottish Government as well as the Scottish law officers, are appointed by the First Minister. As head of the Scottish Government, the First Minister is directly accountable to the Scottish Parliament for their actions and the actions of the wider government.

Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party is the current First Minister of Scotland.[3]

First Minister of Scotland
Prìomh Mhinistear na h-Alba
Heid Meinister o Scotland
Office of the First Minister of Scotland
First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon

since 20 November 2014
StyleThe Right Honourable
Member of
ResidenceBute House, Edinburgh
NominatorScottish Parliament
AppointerQueen of the United Kingdom
Term lengthNo limit on term length. The First Minister is nominated by Parliament following a general election or resignation of the previous First Minister.
Inaugural holderDonald Dewar
FormationMay 7, 1999
Salary£151,271 annually[1]
WebsiteFirst Minister of Scotland


Following a referendum in 1997, in which the Scottish electorate gave their consent, a Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government were reconvened by the Labour government of Tony Blair, having been suspended following the Acts of Union in 1707. The process was known as devolution and was initiated to give Scotland some measure of home rule or self-governance in its domestic affairs, such as health, education and justice.[4] Devolution resulted in administrative and legislative changes to the way Scotland was governed, and resulted in the establishment of a post of First Minister to be head of the devolved Scottish Government. The term "First Minister" is analogous to the use of Premier to denote the heads of government in sub-national entities of Commonwealth nations, such as the provinces and territories of Canada, provinces of South Africa, states of Malaysia and the states of Australia.[5]

Prior to devolution the comparable functions of the First Minister were exercised by the Secretary of State for Scotland, who headed the Scottish Office, which was a department of the wider United Kingdom Government and existed from 1885 to 1999. The Secretary of State was a member of the British Cabinet and appointed by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to have responsibility for the domestic affairs of Scotland. Since 1999, the Secretary of State has a much reduced role as a result of the transfer of responsibilities to the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government.[6]

Election and term

The First Minister is nominated by the Scottish Parliament from among its members at the beginning of each term, by means of an exhaustive ballot. They are then formally appointed by the monarch.[7]

In theory, any member of the Scottish Parliament can be nominated for First Minister. However, the government must maintain the confidence of the Scottish Parliament to in order to gain supply (access to exchequer funds). For this reason, the First Minister is almost always the leader of the largest party, or the leader of the senior partner in any majority coalition. There is no term of office for a First Minister; they hold office "at Her Majesty's pleasure". In practice, they hold office as long as they retains the confidence of the chamber; indeed, they are required to either resign or seek a parliamentary dissolution (and with it, new elections) if his or her government "no longer enjoys the confidence of the Parliament." Whenever the office of First Minister falls vacant, the Sovereign is responsible for appointing the new incumbent; the appointment is formalised at a meeting between the Sovereign and the First Minister designate.[7]

Given the additional member system used to elect its members, it is difficult for a single party to gain an overall majority of seats in the Scottish Parliament.[8] The SNP gained an overall majority of seats in the 2011 election, and thus had enough numbers to vote in its leader, Alex Salmond, as First Minister for a second term.

After the election of the Scottish Parliament, a First Minister must be nominated within a period of 28 days.[7] Under the terms of the Scotland Act, if the Parliament fails to nominate a First Minister, within this time frame, it will be dissolved and a fresh election held.[7] If an incumbent First Minister is defeated in a general election, they do not immediately vacate office. The First Minister only leaves office when the Scottish Parliament nominates a successor individual.[7]

After accepting office, the First Minister takes the Official Oath, as set out in the Promissory Oaths Act 1868.[9] The oath is tendered by the Lord President of the Court of Session at a sitting of the Court in Parliament House in Edinburgh.[9] The oath is:

I, [name], do swear that I will well and truly serve Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in the office of First Minister, So help me God.

The period in office of a First Minister is not linked to the term of Members of the Scottish Parliament. The Scotland Act set out a four-year maximum term for each session of Parliament.[10] The Act specifies than an election to the Scottish Parliament will be held on the first Thursday in May, every four years, starting from 1999.[10] Parliament can be dissolved and an extraordinary general election held, before the expiration of the four-year term, but only if two-thirds (or more) of elected MSPs vote for such action in a resolution of the Scottish Parliament. If a simple majority of MSPs voted a no-confidence motion in the First Minister/Government, that would trigger a 28-day period for the nomination of a replacement; should that time period expire without the nomination of a new First Minister, then an extraordinary election would have to be called.[11]

The First Minister, once appointed continues in office as the head of the devolved Scottish Government until either they resign, is dismissed or dies in office. Resignation can be triggered off by the passage of a Motion of No Confidence in the First Minister or the Scottish Government or by rejecting a Motion of Confidence in the Scottish Parliament.[7] In those situations, the First Minister must tender their resignation and the resignation of their government to the monarch.[7] In such circumstances, the Presiding Officer appoints an interim First Minister, until the Scottish Parliament determines on a new nominee to be presented to the Sovereign for formal appointment.[7]


Wfm donald dewar statue
Donald Dewar was the inaugural First Minister of Scotland, and held office from May 1999, until his death in October 2000.

The role and powers of the First Minister are set out in Sections 45 to 49 of the Scotland Act 1998.[7]

Following their appointment, the First Minister may then nominate ministers to sit in the Scottish Cabinet and Junior Ministers to form the Scottish Government. They are then formally elected by the Scottish Parliament. Ministers hold office at Her Majesty's Pleasure and may be removed from office, at any time, by the First Minister. The First Minister also has the power to appoint the Law Officers and Chief Legal Officers of the Scottish Government – the Lord Advocate and the Solicitor General but only with the support of the Scottish Parliament.

The First Minister is responsible to the Scottish Parliament for their actions and the actions of the overall Scottish Government. MSPs can scrutinise the activities of the First Minister and their Cabinet by tabling written questions or by asking oral questions in the Scottish Parliament. Direct questioning of the First Minister takes place each Thursday at noon, when Parliament is sitting. The 30-minute session enables MSPs to ask questions of the First Minister, on any issue. The leaders of the largest opposition parties have an allocation of questions and are allowed to question the First Minister each week. Opposition leaders normally ask an opening question to the First Minister, relating to their meeting with the Scottish Cabinet, or when they next expect to meet the Prime Minister, and then follow this up by asking a supplementary question on an issue of their choosing.

In addition to direct questioning, the First Minister is also able to deliver oral statements to the Scottish Parliament chamber, after which members are invited to question the First Minister on the substance of the statement. For example, at the beginning of each parliamentary term, the First Minister normally delivers a statement, setting out the legislative programme of the Government, or a statement of government priorities over the forthcoming term.[12]

Associated with the office of First Minister, there is also the post of Deputy First Minister. Unlike the office of First Minister, the post of Deputy is not recognised in statute and confers no extra status on the holder. Like the First Minister, the Deputy First Minister is an elected Member of the Scottish Parliament and a member of the Scottish Government. From 1999 to 2007, when Scotland was governed by a Labour/Liberal Democrat coalition, the leader of the Liberal Democrats – the junior government party, was given the role of Deputy First Minister; a title which they held in conjunction with another ministerial portfolio. For example, Nicol Stephen, Deputy First Minister from 2005 to 2007, simultaneously held the post of Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning.

Deputy Secretary Blinken Meets With Scottish First Minister Sturgeon - 18490445358
US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Nicola Sturgeon at the US Department of State in Washington, D.C., on 10 June 2015

On two occasions since 1999, the Deputy First Minister has assumed the role of 'Acting' First Minister, inheriting the powers of the First Minister in their absence or incapacitation. From 11 October 2000 to 26 October 2000, following the death in office of the then First Minister Donald Dewar, his deputy Jim Wallace became Acting First Minister, until the Labour party appointed a new leader, and consequently First Minister.[13] Wallace also became Acting First Minister between 8 November 2001 and 22 November 2001, following the resignation of Henry McLeish.[13]

An officer with such a title need not always exist; rather, the existence of the post is dependent on the form of Cabinet organisation preferred by the First Minister and their party. The Deputy First Minister does not automatically succeed if a vacancy in the premiership is suddenly created. It may be necessary for the Deputy to stand in for the First Minister on occasion, for example by taking the floor at First Minister's Question Time.

Precedence and privileges

Bute House, Charlotte Square Edinburgh
Bute House at 6 Charlotte Square is the official residence of the First Minister of Scotland.

The First Minister is, by virtue of section 45(7) of the Scotland Act 1998, ex officio the Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland and their place in the order of precedence in Scotland is determined by the holding of that office.[14][15] The scale of precedence in Scotland was amended by Royal Warrant on 30 June 1999 to take account of devolution and the establishment of the post of First Minister.[15] The amended scale reflected the transfer of the office of Keeper of the Great Seal from the Secretary of State for Scotland to the First Minister and also created a rank for the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament.[15] Throughout Scotland, the First Minister outranks all others except the Royal Family, Lord Lieutenants, the Sheriff Principal, the Lord Chancellor, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Commonwealth Prime Ministers (whilst in the United Kingdom), the Speaker of the House of Commons and the Lord Speaker.[15]

As of April 2015, the First Minister is entitled to draw a total salary of £144,687, which is composed of a basic MSP salary of £59,089 plus an additional salary of £85,598 for the role as First Minister.[16] This can be compared to the UK Prime Minister who is entitled to draw a total salary of £142,500, composed of a basic MP salary of £67,060 and an additional office holder's salary of £75,440 (the total entitlement for the Prime Minister had peaked at £198,661 in April 2011 but this was then dropped by around 25%).[17] The First Minister is the highest paid member of the Scottish Government. Sturgeon said she would claim £135,605, £9,082 less than her entitlement, as part of a voluntary pay freeze pegging her salary to 2008/09 levels.[18]

The First Minister traditionally resides at Bute House which is located at number 6 Charlotte Square in the New Town of Edinburgh.[19] The house became the property of the National Trust for Scotland in 1966, after the death of the previous owner John Crichton-Stuart, 4th Marquess of Bute and remains in the ownership of the National Trust for Scotland.[19] Prior to devolution, Bute House was the official residence of the Secretary of State for Scotland.[19] Weekly meetings of the Scottish Cabinet take place in the Cabinet room of the house.[19] Bute House is also where the First Minister holds press conferences, hosts visiting dignitaries and employs and dismisses government Ministers. The Office of the First Minister is located at St Andrews House in Edinburgh.[20]

Appointments to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom are made by the monarch, although in practice they are made only on the advice of the UK government. To date all First Ministers have been appointed members of the Privy Council, and therefore entitled to use the style 'Right Honourable'.

The First Minister is one of the few individuals in Scotland officially permitted to fly the Royal Banner of Scotland.

List of nominating elections

Party key Conservative Party
Labour Party
Liberal Democrats
Scottish National Party
Scottish Green Party
Scottish Socialist Party
First minister nominative elections
Parliamentary term Date Candidates Votes received
1st Parliament 13 May 1999[21]      Donald Dewar 71
     Alex Salmond 35
     David McLetchie 17
     Dennis Canavan 3
26 Oct 2000[22]      Henry McLeish 68
     John Swinney 33
     David McLetchie 19
     Dennis Canavan 3
22 November 2001[23]      Jack McConnell 70
     John Swinney 34
     David McLetchie 19
     Dennis Canavan 3
2nd Parliament 15 May 2003[24]      Jack McConnell 67
     John Swinney 26
     David McLetchie 18
     Robin Harper 6
     Tommy Sheridan 6
     Dennis Canavan 2
     Margo MacDonald 2
3rd Parliament 16 May 2007[25]      Alex Salmond 49
     Jack McConnell 46
4th Parliament 18 May 2011[26]      Alex Salmond 68
19 November 2014[27]      Nicola Sturgeon 66
     Ruth Davidson 15
5th Parliament 17 May 2016[28]      Nicola Sturgeon 63
     Willie Rennie 5

Living former First Ministers

Henry Mcleish

Henry McLeish (age 70)

Official portrait of Lord Wallace of Tankerness crop 2

Jim Wallace (acting) (age 64) (2000, 2001)

Jack McConnell

Jack McConnell (age 58)

Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland (cropped)

Alex Salmond (age 64)

See also


  1. ^ "SALARIES FROM 1 APRIL 2017" (PDF). The Scottish Parliament. 1 April 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 September 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b "About the Scottish Government > Who runs government > First Minister". Scottish Government. Retrieved 9 January 2019.
  3. ^ "Nicola Sturgeon becomes Scottish first minister". BBC News. 19 November 2014. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  4. ^ "The Scottish Parliament – History – The Path to Devolution". Scottish Parliament. Archived from the original on 14 September 2007. Retrieved 6 August 2007.
  5. ^ "House of Lords Debate – Power of Parliament to change titles". Hansard – House of Lords. 28 October 1998. Retrieved 6 August 2007.
  6. ^ "Devolution Guidance Note 3 – The role of the Secretary of State for Scotland" (PDF). Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA). October 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 6 August 2007.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Section 45 – Scotland Act 1998". Office of Public Sector Information. Retrieved 30 July 2007.
  8. ^ "Proportional Representation – What is Proportional Representation?". Politics UK. Archived from the original on 11 February 2007. Retrieved 7 August 2007.
  9. ^ a b "First Minister takes oath". Scottish Government. 17 May 2007. Retrieved 7 August 2007.
  10. ^ a b "Scotland Act 1998 – Ordinary General Elections". Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI). Retrieved 7 August 2007.
  11. ^ "Scotland Act 1998 – Extraordinary General Elections". Office of Public Sector Information (OPSI). Retrieved 7 August 2007.
  12. ^ "About: Performance: Programme for Government". Scottish Government. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  13. ^ a b "World Statesmen – United Kingdom, Scotland". World Statesmen. Retrieved 4 August 2007.
  14. ^ Scotland Act 1998, section 45(7)
  15. ^ a b c d "The Scale of General Precedence in Scotland". Burkes Peerage. Archived from the original on 24 December 2010. Retrieved 4 August 2007.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  16. ^ "BUSINESS BULLETIN No. 48/2015" (PDF). Scottish Parliament. 17 March 2015. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  17. ^ "Members' pay and expenses – current rates from 1 April 2013 RESEARCH PAPER 13/33". House of Commons. 31 May 2013. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  18. ^ "The UK's highest paid politicians: Who gets what?". Newsbeat. BBC. 19 March 2015.
  19. ^ a b c d "Bute House Guidebook" (PDF). Scottish Government. 3 January 2003. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  20. ^ "Bute House". Office of the First Minister (Scottish Government). Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  21. ^ "Dewar wins top job". BBC. 13 May 1999. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  22. ^ "McLeish wins first minister title". BBC. 26 October 2000. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  23. ^ "22 November 2001: McConnell elected First Minister". BBC. 31 October 2009. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  24. ^ "Second term for McConnell". BBC News. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  25. ^ "Salmond elected as first minister". BBC. 16 May 2007. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  26. ^ "SNP leader Alex Salmond re-elected as first minister". BBC News. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  27. ^ "Nicola Sturgeon is elected first minister of Scotland". BBC News. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  28. ^ "Nicola Sturgeon wins Scottish first minister vote". BBC News. 17 May 2016. Retrieved 17 May 2016.

External links

Order of precedence in Scotland
Preceded by
Speaker of the House of Commons
Order of Precedence
Succeeded by
Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament
Alex Salmond

Alexander Elliot Anderson Salmond (; born 31 December 1954) is a Scottish politician who served as the First Minister of Scotland from 2007 to 2014. He was the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) for over twenty years, having served for two terms, firstly from 1990 to 2000 and subsequently from 2004 to 2014. He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Banff and Buchan between 1987 and 2010, when he stood down to focus on his other roles, and then for Gordon from 2015 to 2017, when he lost his seat to Scottish Conservative candidate Colin Clark. During the 2015–2017 parliament, he was the SNP International Affairs and Europe spokesperson in the House of Commons.

From 1987 to 2010, Salmond served as MP for Banff and Buchan. Following the establishment of the devolved Scottish Parliament in 1999, Salmond also served as the Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for Banff and Buchan from 1999 to 2001, while continuing to serve as that constituency's MP. Salmond served as the Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for Gordon from 2007 to 2011, and for Aberdeenshire East from 2011 to 2016.

Salmond resigned as SNP leader in 2000 and did not seek re-election to the Scottish Parliament. He did however retain his Westminster seat in the 2001 general election. Salmond was once again elected SNP leader in 2004 and the following year held his Banff and Buchan seat in the 2005 general election. In 2006 he announced his intention to contest Gordon in the 2007 Scottish Parliament election. Salmond defeated the incumbent MSP and the SNP emerged as the largest single party. After the SNP secured confidence and supply support from the Scottish Green Party, Salmond was voted First Minister by the Scottish Parliament on 16 May 2007. During his first term, he headed a minority Scottish Government. At the 2011 Scottish Parliament election the SNP won with an overall majority, a feat previously thought almost impossible under the additional member system used in elections for the Scottish Parliament.

Politically, Salmond is one of the foremost proponents of Scottish independence, repeatedly calling for a referendum on the issue. Salmond has campaigned on global warming and in government has committed Scotland to legislation on emission reduction and the generation of renewable energy. The day after the 2014 independence referendum, at which a majority of Scottish voters chose to remain part of the United Kingdom, Salmond announced his intention not to stand for re-election as leader of the SNP at the SNP National Conference in November, and to resign as First Minister thereafter. He was succeeded as SNP leader by his deputy, Nicola Sturgeon, as she was the only candidate to stand for the leadership election. He submitted his resignation as First Minister on 18 November, and was succeeded by Sturgeon the following day.In August 2018, Salmond resigned from the party after allegations of sexual misconduct. In January 2019, he was arrested and charged with 14 offences, including multiple counts of attempted rape and sexual assault.

Banff and Buchan (UK Parliament constituency)

Banff and Buchan is a constituency of the British House of Commons, located in the north-east of Scotland within the Aberdeenshire council area. It elects one Member of Parliament (MP) at least once every five years using the first-past-the-post system of voting.

The seat has been held by David Duguid - for the Conservative Party - since June 2017. The constituency saw the second-largest swing to the Conservatives in all of Scotland (20.2%), bested only - and slightly - by the swing the Conservatives achieved in defeating former First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond in the neighboring seat of Gordon (20.4%).

Prior to 2017, the seat had been held by the Scottish National Party since 1987, with Salmond representing the seat until 2010. In 2010, Eilidh Whiteford succeeded Salmond as the constituency's MP; however, the SNP vote share fell below 50% for the first time since 1992, due to a strong challenge by the Conservative Party. In the 2015 election the SNP achieved its best ever result in the constituency, with Whiteford winning over 60% of the vote and increasing her majority to 31.4%.

The constituency was reported to have voted in favour of Scottish independence at the 2014 Scottish independence referendum and is estimated to have voted to leave the European Union at the 2016 European Union membership referendum on a margin of 54% Leave to 46% Remain.A mostly rural constituency, it takes in the towns of Fraserburgh, Peterhead and Turriff, and the main industries are fishing and tourism.

Bute House

Bute House (Gaelic: Taigh Bhòid) is the official residence of the First Minister of Scotland located within Charlotte Square in Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland. Alongside two other offices at Holyrood and at St. Andrew's House, Bute House also has a smaller office used by the First Minister when in official residence.Located at 6 Charlotte Square in the New Town, Edinburgh, it is the central house on the north side of the square, and was designed by Robert Adam. The four-storey house contains the Cabinet Room, offices and conference, reception, sitting and dining rooms where the First Minister works, and where Scottish Government ministers, official visitors and guests are received and entertained. The second and third floors contain the private residence of the First Minister. Bute House was conveyed to the National Trust for Scotland by the Marquess of Bute in 1966. Between 1970 and 1999 it served as the official residence of the Secretary of State for Scotland. Since 1999 it has been the official residence of the First Minister.As well as serving as the official residence of the First Minister, Bute House is frequently used by the First Minister to hold press conferences, media briefings, meetings of the cabinet of the Scottish Government and appointing members to the Scottish Cabinet.

Council for Science and Technology

The Council for Science and Technology (CST) is an advisory non-departmental public body of the United Kingdom government. Its role is to give advice on issues that cut across government departments to the Prime Minister, the First Minister of Scotland and the First Minister for Wales. It was established in 1993 and relaunched in 2003. It is based in London.

The Council has 17 independent members and two co-chairs. Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell chairs meetings where advice is being developed.

Sir Mark Walport, the Chief Scientific Adviser and head of the Government Office for Science, chairs meetings reporting its advice to government.

The advisory functions of the CST had previously been performed by the Advisory Council for Applied Research and Development (ACARD), from 1976 to 1987, and the Advisory Council on Science and Technology (ACOST) from 1987 to 1993.

Deputy First Minister of Scotland

The Deputy First Minister of Scotland (Scottish Gaelic: Leas-Phrìomh Mhinistear na h-Alba; Scots: Heid Meinister Depute o Scotland) is the deputy to the First Minister of Scotland. The post-holder deputises for the First Minister of Scotland in period of absence or overseas visits, and will be expected to answer to the Scottish Parliament on behalf of the First Minister at First Minister's Questions.

Donald Dewar

Donald Campbell Dewar (21 August 1937 – 11 October 2000) was a Scottish politician, the inaugural First Minister of Scotland and an advocate of Scottish devolution.

Dewar first entered politics as the Labour Member of Parliament (MP) for Aberdeen South following the 1966 general election. After losing his seat in 1970, he served in the House of Commons again from 1978 until his death in 2000. He served as Secretary of State for Scotland in British Prime Minister Tony Blair's Cabinet from 1997 to 1999, successfully campaigning for a Scottish Parliament in the 1997 Scottish devolution referendum.

Having led the Labour campaign in the run up to the first Scottish Parliament election, he subsequently became the Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for Glasgow Anniesland on 6 May 1999, and was appointed Leader of the Scottish Labour Party a day later and became the first Scottish First Minister as the head of a devolved coalition government with the Liberal Democrats.

He died of a brain hemorrhage while in office, and was succeeded as First Minister and Scottish Labour leader by Henry McLeish.

Henry McLeish

Henry Baird McLeish (born 15 June 1948) is a Scottish nationalist politician, author and academic who briefly served as the Labour First Minister of Scotland from 2000 until 2001, when he had to resign following a financial scandal, the first major scandal to face the Scottish Parliament since its reincarnation. Formerly a professional football player, McLeish was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Central Fife from 1987 to 2001 and the Member of the Scottish Parliament for Central Fife from 1999 to 2003.

Irvine, North Ayrshire

Irvine ( UR-vin; Scots: Irvin, Scottish Gaelic: Irbhinn) is an ancient settlement, in medieval times a royal burgh, and now a new town on the coast of the Firth of Clyde in North Ayrshire, Scotland. The 2011 Census recorded the town's population at 33,698 inhabitants, making it the largest settlement in North Ayrshire.Irvine was the site of Scotland's 12th century Military Capital and former headquarters of the Lord High Constable of Scotland, Hugh de Morville. It also served as the Capital of Cunninghame and was, at the time of David I, Robert II and Robert III one of the earliest capitals of Scotland.The town was once a haunt of Robert Burns, after whom two streets in the town are named: Burns Street and Burns Crescent. He is known to have worked in a flax mill on the Glasgow Vennel. Despite being classed as a new town, Irvine has had a long history stretching back many centuries and was classed as a Royal Burgh. There are also conflicting rumours that Mary, Queen of Scots stayed briefly at Seagate Castle. To this day there is still a yearly festival, called Marymass, held in the town. Marymass refers to the religious Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrated on 15th August and was therefore Mary's Mass hence Marymass.

Irvine is the birthplace of the present First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party, Nicola Sturgeon as well as the former First Minister of Scotland, Jack McConnell. The current Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop was also born in Irvine. Its twin town is Saint-Amand-les-Eaux in northern France just outside Lille.

Is There for Honest Poverty

"Is There for Honest Poverty", commonly known as "A Man's a Man for A' That" or "For a' That and a' That", is a 1795 song by Robert Burns, written in Scots and English, famous for its expression of egalitarian ideas of society, which may be seen as expressing the ideas of republicanism that arose in the 18th century.

Scottish folksinger Sheena Wellington sang the song at the opening of the Scottish Parliament in May, 1999. Midge Ure did the same in July 2016. The song was also sung at the funeral of Donald Dewar, the inaugural First Minister of Scotland. It is also known in translations into other European languages, for example the German "Trotz alledem und alledem" by Ferdinand Freiligrath right after the Revolution of 1848 (sung by Hannes Wader as "Trotz alledem").

The words "pride o' worth" appear on the crest of the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

Jack McConnell

Jack Wilson McConnell, Baron McConnell of Glenscorrodale, (born 30 June 1960) is a Scottish politician and a Labour life peer in the House of Lords. He was the First Minister of Scotland from 2001 to 2007. He was the Member of the Scottish Parliament for Motherwell and Wishaw from 1999 to 2011.

McConnell became an MSP in the inaugural elections to the Scottish Parliament in 1999, later holding the positions of Finance Minister, and Education Minister. He was elected First Minister following the resignation of his predecessor Henry McLeish, and led the Scottish Labour Party to its second election victory in the 2003 Election.

After losing office as First Minister of Scotland, McConnell became a member of the House of Lords of the United Kingdom. He made a commitment to continuing his work to tackle poverty in Africa and to develop the relationship between Scotland and Malawi.

Jim Wallace, Baron Wallace of Tankerness

James Robert Wallace, Baron Wallace of Tankerness, , FRSE (born 25 August 1954) is a British politician and former leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords. He was formerly Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Member of Parliament (MP) for Orkney and Shetland, Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for Orkney, the first Deputy First Minister of Scotland in the Scottish Executive and Advocate General for Scotland.

John Swinney

John Ramsay Swinney (born 13 April 1964) is a Scottish politician serving as Deputy First Minister of Scotland and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills. He previously held the post of Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Constitution and Economy, until that role was divided into two posts in the second Sturgeon government as a result of the expansion of the Scottish Parliament's financial powers. He is also the Member of the Scottish Parliament for Perthshire North, having previously represented North Tayside (1999–2011).

Motherwell and Wishaw (UK Parliament constituency)

Motherwell and Wishaw is a burgh constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was formed in 1974, mostly from Motherwell. It was divided in 1983 into Motherwell North and Motherwell South constituencies, but these were merged in 1997 to recreate the old Motherwell and Wishaw constituency.

It is situated in the south-west of the North Lanarkshire council area, and is dominated by the towns of Motherwell and Wishaw.

The corresponding Scottish Parliamentary seat of the same name Motherwell and Wishaw was held by Jack McConnell, the former First Minister of Scotland from November 2001 until May 2007.

Nicol Stephen

Nicol Ross Stephen, Baron Stephen (born 23 March 1960) is a Scottish Liberal Democrat politician. He was the Member of the Scottish Parliament for Aberdeen South, and was leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats from 2005 to 2008. He is a former Deputy First Minister of Scotland and Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning.

He became an MSP in the first elections to the Scottish Parliament in 1999. Following the coalition agreement between the Scottish Liberal Democrats and Labour in the Scottish Parliament, he became Deputy Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning. Later in the same parliamentary term he became Deputy Minister for Education, Europe and External Affairs, and then for Education and Young People. Following the 2003 Scottish Parliament election, he joined the Scottish Executive cabinet as Minister for Transport. In 2005, following the resignation of his predecessor Jim Wallace, he was elected leader of the party and also became Deputy First Minister and Minister for Enterprise and Lifelong Learning. He led his party into the 2007 election, where they won 16 seats (down one on 2003). He resigned as party leader on 2 July 2008, triggering a leadership election. In 2011 he joined the House of Lords. He became a patron of The Aberdeen Law Project in 2011.

Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Ferguson Sturgeon (born 19 July 1970) is a Scottish politician serving as the fifth and current First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) since November 2014. She is the first woman to hold either position. Sturgeon has been a member of the Scottish Parliament since 1999, first as an additional member for the Glasgow electoral region from 1999 to 2007 and as the member for Glasgow Southside since 2007 (known as Glasgow Govan from 2007 to 2011).

A law graduate of the University of Glasgow, Sturgeon worked as a solicitor in Glasgow. After being elected to the Scottish Parliament, she served successively as the SNP's shadow minister for education, health, and justice. In 2004 she announced that she would stand as a candidate for the leadership of the SNP following the resignation of John Swinney. However, she later withdrew from the contest in favour of Alex Salmond, standing instead as depute (deputy) leader on a joint ticket with Salmond.

Both were subsequently elected, and as Salmond was still an MP in the House of Commons, Sturgeon led the SNP in the Scottish Parliament from 2004 to 2007. The SNP won the highest number of seats in the Scottish Parliament in the 2007 election and Salmond was subsequently appointed First Minister. He appointed Sturgeon as Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing. She was appointed as Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities in 2012.

Following the defeat of the "Yes" campaign in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, Salmond announced that he would be resigning as party leader at the SNP party conference that November, and would resign as First Minister after a new leader was chosen. No one else was nominated for the post by the time nominations closed, leaving Sturgeon to take the party leadership unopposed at the SNP's annual conference. She was formally elected to succeed Salmond as First Minister on 19 November.


ScotlandWhisky, also known as the Scotch Whisky Tourism Initiative, was launched in 2003 by Jim Wallace MSP, the then Deputy First Minister of Scotland, and Ian Good, Chairman of the Scotch Whisky Association. The project is a partnership between the public and private sectors, with the aim of exploring where the tourism and Scotch whisky industries can work together to realize mutual commercial benefits. It is financed by the Scotch Whisky Association, The Scotch Whisky Experience, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and VisitScotland.

Sheriff Principal of North Strathclyde

The Sheriff Principal of North Strathclyde is the head of the judicial system of the sheriffdom of North Strathclyde, one of the six sheriffdoms covering Scotland. The sheriffdom employs a number of legally-qualified sheriffs who are responsible for the hearing of cases in eight Sheriffs Courts based in Ayr, Campbeltown, Dumbarton, Dunoon, Greenock, Kilmarnock, Oban and Paisley. The current Scottish sheriffdoms were created in 1975 when the previous arrangement of 12 sheriffdoms was discontinued.

The Sheriff Principal, usually a Queen's Counsel (QC), is appointed by the reigning King or Queen on the recommendation of the First Minister of Scotland, who receives recommendations from the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland. He or she must have been qualified as an advocate or solicitor for at least ten years and is responsible for the administrative oversight of the judicial system within the sheriffdom. The Sheriff Principal will also hear appeals against the judgement of his sheriffs, hear certain cases himself and occasionally conduct major fatal accident inquiries.

Sheriff principal

In Scotland a sheriff principal (pl. sheriffs principal) is a judge in charge of a sheriffdom with judicial, quasi-judicial, and administrative responsibilities. Sheriffs principal have been part of the judiciary of Scotland since the 11th century. Sheriffs principal were originally appointed by the Monarch of Scotland, and evolved into a heritable jurisdiction before appointment was again vested in the Crown and the Monarch of the United Kingdom following the passage of the Heritable Jurisdictions (Scotland) Act 1746.

Under the Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Act 1971 (as amended), each sheriff principal is appointed by the Monarch of the United Kingdom on the advice of the First Minister of Scotland, who is advised by the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland. As of May 2017 there were six sheriffs principal, each of whom has responsibility not only as a judge, but for the administration of justice in their respective sheriffdoms. Sheriffs principal have to ensure the effective running of the sheriff courts and justice of the peace courts within their jurisdiction. Following the passage of both the Courts Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 and the Judiciary and Courts (Scotland) Act 2008, sheriffs principal are subject to the authority and direction of the Lord President of the Court of Session as Head of the Judiciary of Scotland.

Sheriffs principal hold additional judicial offices, including the Sheriff Principal of Lothian and Borders who is Sheriff in Chancery, and President of the Sheriff Personal Injury Court. All of the sheriffs principal are Appeal Sheriffs and ex officio members of the Sheriff Appeal Court.

Outside their judicial office, each sheriff principal holds several other offices ex officio, including Commissioner of Northern Lighthouses and General Commissioner of Income Tax, with each sheriff principal having a ceremonial role in their respective sheriffdom that means they outrank all but members of the royal family and the Lord Lieutenant.

When researching the history of the sheriffs principal there is much confusion over the use of different names to refer sheriffs in Scotland. Sheriffs principal are those sheriffs who have held office over a sheriffdom, whether through inheritance or through direct appointment by the Crown. Thus, hereditary sheriff (before 1746) and sheriff-depute (after 1746) are the precursors to the modern office of sheriff principal. The precursor to the modern office of sheriff was historically referred to as sheriff substitute.

Swimming at the 2014 Commonwealth Games – Men's 400 metre individual medley

The men's 400 metre individual medley event at the 2014 Commonwealth Games as part of the swimming programme took place on 25 July at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre in Glasgow, Scotland.

The medals were presented by Bruce Robertson, Vice-President of the Commonwealth Games Federation and the quaichs were presented by Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister of Scotland.

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