Scottish Government Cabinet Reshuffle: Who's in and Who's out?

It is the biggest cabinet reshuffle by an SNP First Minister as Nicola Sturgeon makes seven new appointments in a move that increases here inner circle of senior ministers to 12, so who are the new breed and who are they replacing at Holyrood?


Humza Yousaf

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Moves from Minister for Transport and the Islands to his first cabinet post as Justice Secretary, replacing Michael Matheson. Previously served as Minister for Europe and International Development and is current MSP for Glasgow Pollok. According to the Scottish Government, Yousaf will be responsible for delivering new laws surrounding hate crimes

First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon and Deputy First Minister John Swinney (centre right), with (left to right, back row) Mike Russell, Roseanna Cunningham, Derek Mackay, Michael Matheson, Fiona Hyslop, Fergus Ewing, (left to right, centre row) Jeane Freeman, Humza Yousaf, Shirley-Anne Somerville and Aileen Campbell.

Jeane Freeman

Named as Minister for Social Security less than two weeks after being elected as an MSP for the first time in May 2016, Freeman receives a promotion to the position of Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport with a particular emphasis on working to reform the NHS and preparing it for the future.

Shirley-Anne Somerville

Another cabinet debutant, Shirley-Anne Somerville becomes the first dedicated Secretary for Social Security and Older People after two years serving as Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science. She will oversee the delivery of the first social security payments as part of the devolved Social Security bill passed in April.

Shona Robison is the highest profile departure in the reshuffle, leaving her position as Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport after almost four years.

Aileen Campbell

Currently Minister for Public Health and Sport, Aileen Campbell takes the role of Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government with a focus on tackling poverty and inequality and helping to reform local governance. She was previously Minister for Local Government and Planning under Alex Salmond’s government in 2011.

Derek MacKay

Derek MacKay receives an upgraded remit from his current role as Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Constitution, with his job description expanded to become Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work with a new team of ministers appointed to work with him.

Keith Brown MSP, is out as Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work

Michael Matheson

In a ‘job swap’ with Humza Yousaf, Michael Matheson becomes Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity after serving as Justice Secretary since November 2014. Part of his new remit is set to include the rollout of 100 per cent superfast broadband across Scotland.

Michael Russell

Joins the cabinet with responsibility for Government Business and Constitutional Relations overseeing preparations for the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. Served in specially created position as Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe since August 2016.

Angela Constance MSP leaves her role as Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities


Shona Robison

Robison’s resignation brings an end to 10 years in the SNP government, during which time she has served as Minister for Public Health and Sport. Promoted to full cabinet position as Cabinet Secretary for Commonwealth Games, Sport, Equalities and Pensioners’ Rights by Alex Salmond, she took over from Alex Neil as Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport in November 2014.

Keith Brown

First elected as an MSP in 2007, Brown was Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning and Minister for Transport and Veterans before being handed the cabinet brief for for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities in November 2014. Now depute leader of the SNP, he leaves his position as cabinet secretary for the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work after two years.

Angela Constance

Took over from Alex Neil as Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities in May 2016, her third cabinet position after spells as secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning and seven months as secretary for Training, Youth and Women’s Employment between April and November 2014. She also served as Minister for Youth Employment for three years under Alex Salmond’s government.

Alasdair Allan

MSP for the Na h-Eileanan an Iar constituency, Allan Replaced Humza Yousaf as Minister for International Development and Europe in May 2016 after previously holding positions as Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland’s Languages and Minister for Learning and Skills. Controversially voted against the party on the issue of same-sex marriage in 2013.

Annabelle Ewing

First elected as an MP for the former Perth constituency in June 2001, Ewing replaced Angela Constance as Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment as part of Nicola Sturgeon’s November 2014 reshuffle for her first ministerial role. Moved to the position of Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs in May 2016, shortly after being elected as the MSP for Cowdenbeath.

Maureen Watt

Spent five years as MSP for North East Scotland between 2006 and 2011, also serving as Minister for Schools and Skills for two years under Alex Salmond. Became Convener of the Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee in 2011, but moved back to ministerial role as Minister for Public Health by Nicola Sturgeon in 2014. Took over from Jamie Hepburn as minister for Mental Health in May 2016.