Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland's longest-serving first minister, will resign after more than eight years. She is expected to announce her resignation at a news conference in Edinburgh. While her departure is not immediate, it will allow time for her successor to be elected. A source close to Sturgeon revealed that she has "had enough." Her resignation announcement surprised many, including former SNP MP Stephen Gethins, who said there would be "big shoes to fill." Alison Thewliss, SNP MP for Glasgow Central, described Sturgeon as "an incredible leader."
Nicola Sturgeon's Legacy and Controversies
Sturgeon has been a member of the Scottish Parliament since 1999 and has led the SNP to several election victories at the UK, Scottish, and local levels. She became the first minister in November 2014, taking over from Alex Salmond after the defeat in the independence referendum.
Sturgeon has advocated for Scottish independence, but a recent ruling by the UK Supreme Court has prevented Holyrood from holding another independence referendum. Sturgeon wants the SNP to fight the next general election as a de facto referendum, but there is opposition within the party. Additionally, controversies over gender reforms, which the UK government has blocked, have created challenges for Sturgeon.
The Future of Scottish Independence
The SNP is set to hold a special conference in March to discuss whether to use the next general election as a de facto referendum. However, some senior figures within the party believe it won't work, and others have accused Sturgeon of waiting too long to push that case. While Sturgeon's departure may lead to a rethink of independence strategy, it remains to be seen if and when another referendum will happen. Whoever takes over as the next SNP leader must address this issue.