The highs and lows of Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister

Quit: Michelle Thomson. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Quit: Michelle Thomson. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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We look at the rollercoaster ride for Nicola Sturgeon as SNP party leader thus far.

• Nicola Sturgeon has been First Minister for 20 months following the decision of Alex Salmond to stand down after the independence referendum in September 2014. Her promotion to the top job from deputy, a role she had held from May 2007, no doubt ranks as a high.

• The First Minister fared well in television debates throughout the 2015 general election campaign. Sturgeon took part in several Scottish and UK debates and, according to numerous opinion polls, was regarded as having delivered a run of successful performances.

• Despite the fact that she did not stand for election, the SNP went on to a landslide victory in Scotland, winning 56 out of 59 seats.

• Her exposure to a UK-wide public also resulted in her being named the most powerful and influential woman in the United Kingdom by BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour in July 2015.

• Earlier this week Nicola Sturgeon revealed that the deaths of M9 crash couple John Yuill and Lamara Bell was the lowest point so far in her career as First Minister.

She said: “You do feel these things very deeply,” and described the incident – in which police failed to respond to reports of a car going off the motorway for three days – as a “dreadful failure”.

• Another low point during her tenure will be the loss of two of her 2015 intake of MPs, Natalie McGarry and Michelle Thomson, who both resigned the party whip after being caught up in respective controversies about missing campaign cash and property deals.

Sturgeon said that if the allegations against Thomson “are proven to be correct, they will represent behaviour that I find completely unacceptable”.

• During her 20 months at the helm, the SNP’s lavish predictions for oil revenues during the independence referendum, which at the time were based on a price of more than $110 a barrel, were proved wrong. The price has now dropped to around $30.

• Over the last year, several oil rigs have been shut down, thousands of jobs lost and billions of pounds cut from oil revenues.