Swinney promoted as others go in Cabinet shuffle

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By Thomas Connolly

Finance Secretary John Swinney was promoted as two long-standing colleagues lost their Cabinet posts in First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s new government today.

As expected, Swinney will combine his finance role with that of Deputy First Minister, a role for which he was tipped heavily.

Out go Education Secretary Mike Russell and Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, long standing cabinet members, as Sturgeon refreshed the Cabinet with places for more women, again as expected.

The changes are discussed now on Bateman Broadcasting, where Derek Bateman’s guest this week is journalist Maurice Smith.

Key posts are now held by¬†Shona Robison (health secretary) and Michael Matheson (justice), Angela Constance (education). Roseanna Cunningham has been promoted to the Cabinet as fair work, skills and training secretary, and Keith Brown was also promoted to take on Sturgeon’s previous responsibilities in infrastructure, investment and cities secretary.

Alex Neil will stay in the cabinet, moving from health to social justice, communities and pensioners’ rights.

Richard Lochhead will remain as environment secretary, and Fiona Hyslop remains secretary for culture, Europe and external affairs.

Ms Sturgeon said: “The aims of my government are clear: to create a nation that is both socially 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.

“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.”

She added: “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.”