Nicola Sturgeon leaves health in reshuffle

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has left her post as health secretary in a cabinet reshuffle announced today by Alex Salmond.

Ms Sturgeon, Scotland’s longest serving health secretary, will now become cabinet secretary for infrastructure, investment and cities. Her role as cabinet secretary for health and wellbeing will be assumed by Alex Neil.

She will combine her new post with responsibility for government strategy and the constitution, previously a full cabinet position held by Bruce Crawford. This role will see her driving the SNP government’s independence campaign. Ms Sturgeon commented on her move on Twitter. She said: “It has been a privilege to have been Health Sec – my thanks to all the wonderful people I have worked with. We are so very lucky in our NHS.

I am now really looking forward to [my] new job – working for economic recovery & making the case for Scotland’s future as an independent nation.”

The reshuffle was caused by the retirement of Mr Crawford along with two ministers, Brian Adams who was minister for parliamentary business and the Minister for Environment and Climate Change Stewart Stevenson.

Mr Adams will be replaced by Joe Fitzpatrick, MSP for Dundee City West while Paul Wheelhouse, MSP for South Scotland, will take over from Mr Stevenson.

Original article here – http://www.scottishtimes.com/nicola_sturgeon_leaves_health_reshuffle

Scottish independence: Unionist opponents attack Salmond’s referendum focus

Opposition politicians have accused First Minister Alex Salmond of giving the Scottish independence campaign priority over Scotland’s well-being.

The comments follow Mr Salmond’s decision to move his deputy Nicola Sturgeon from her post as health secretary to spearhead the government’s referendum campaign.

Critics have hit out at the move dubbing Ms Sturgeon the “minister for independence”. The Scottish Lib Dem leader, Willie Rennie, said: “This reshuffle shows that the SNP government only has eyes for independence. They are more interested in running the referendum than running the country. We have repeatedly warned that the SNP would use the power of Government to split Scotland from the rest of the UK.

Increasing numbers of civil servants are devoted to breaking up Britain draining desperately needed resources to the achieving the SNP’s ambition. With the appointment of the Deputy First Minister to the post of Minister for Independence our fears have been confirmed.”

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson echoed these sentiments claiming that the government should be concentrating on issues such as increasing NHS waiting lists. She went on to say:

“That the health of the nation now plays second fiddle to the break-up of Britain says it all about this SNP administration.

“The First Minister has moved his most trusted lieutenant from one of Scotland’s most critical briefs to pursue his narrow nationalist agenda.

“The sooner the distraction of the referendum is behind us the better, and Alex Salmond can do what he was elected to do which is to serve the best interests of all Scots, and not simply champion those of the separatist minority.”

Veteran Labour MSP Malcolm Chisholm also criticised Ms Sturgeon’s new role saying: “Alex Neil knows a thing or two about infrastructure little about health, Nicola Sturgeon vice versa. Appalling [that] only [the] referendum matters now.”

However, the Scottish Green Party were more conciliatory in their response with co-convener Patrick Harvie urging ministers to make the most of their new posts. Mr Harvie said: “We welcome the focus on building the case for independence and promoting economic recovery, and urge the Scottish Government to be bold. Nicola Sturgeon needs to build a positive, compelling vision of a more equal and forward-thinking Scotland rather than trying not to scare the horses.

 

Original article here – http://www.scottishtimes.com/unionist_opponents_attack_salmond_referendum_focus