Constance, Robison promoted to Scottish Cabinet

NICOLA Sturgeon has challenged First Minister Alex Salmond to appoint even more women to senior Government posts following the confirmation of the promotions of Angela Constance and Shona Robison.

Constance and Robison have been appointed to the Cabinet. Picture: Neil Hanna

The new additions boost female representation in the Scottish Cabinet to 40 per cent.

But Ms Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister and deputy leader of the SNP, has challenged First Minister Alex Salmond to match the Scottish female population share of 52 per cent.

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The appointments were unanimously approved at Holyrood today, but opposition parties complained they were politically motivated with no additional duties and a public price tag of over £30,000 in salaries.

Ms Sturgeon said: “These appointments do mean that 40 per cent of the Cabinet are women.

“That is a significant milestone and one we should be proud of. It is the highest of any administration in the lifetime of this parliament.

“Although I should perhaps say, First Minister, given that we make up 52 per cent of the population perhaps it’s not time to stop quite where we are right now.”

Debate

Labour equalities spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: “Why have they not been promoted before now?

“Of course, this is perhaps not about recognising talent - it is quite simply about the referendum.

“Apparently the First Minister has a problem with women. Or is it that women have a problem with Alex Salmond?

“I’m sure it comes as a surprise to him, but it would appear that women don’t altogether trust the First Minister and his promises.”

She added: “The First Minister has today increased the salary of two women by something like £30,000 to £40,000 a year, and that is welcome.

“But there is a marginal impact on the equal pay gap by doing that. How about increasing the wages of 256,000 working women to pay the Living Wage?”

Conservative deputy leader Jackson Carlaw said: “The appointments without supporting ministers or additional duties are being funded at taxpayers’ expense, and I do think that comes across as being unseemly.

“How much better these appointments would have been had they been given the chance to perform better than failing ministers in the Scottish Government such as the Justice Secretary or the Education Secretary.”

Ms Sturgeon said Mr Carlaw’s intervention was “perhaps the best advert he could have made for more women in politics”.

She added: “Jackie Baillie said the First Minister had a ‘woman problem’, which brought to mind a recent opinion poll I read in none other than the Daily Record looking at the current party preferences.

“It found that Labour support among women for Scottish Parliament elections was 34 per cent. The SNP support among women was 42 per cent, so if the First Minister has ‘a problem with women’ then goodness knows what these figures say about Labour’s problem with women.

“Incidentally, the Tory support among women was 13 per cent.”

Ms Robison is now Cabinet Secretary for the Commonwealth Games, Sport, Equalities and Pensioners’ Rights, and Ms Constance is Cabinet Secretary for Training, Youth and Female Employment, confirming the appointments announced at the SNP conference earlier this month.

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