It has long been expected that Nicola Sturgeon would take the chance to reshape the Cabinet soon after she had been confirmed as First Minister. That reshuffle has taken place this morning.
Understandably I was keenly interested to see what was happening with regard to the justice portfolio. Confirmed was the long held suspicion that Kenny MacAskill MSP will no longer serve in the Scottish Government as Cabinet Secretary for Justice, or in any other role. He has been replaced Michael Matheson MSP, who has previously been Minister for Public Health.
The other positions will be filled as follows
- Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Constitution and Economy – John Swinney MSP.
- Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities – Keith Brown MSP
- Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training – Roseanna Cunningham MSP
- Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning – Angela Constance MSP
- Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport – Shona Robison MSP
- Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners’ Rights – Alex Neil MSP
- Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment – Richard Lochhead MSP
- Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs – Fiona Hyslop MSP
I have to say that I am not surprised that Kenny MacAskill has left the Cabinet. His inability to listen to criticism and deal with his mistakes has finally cost him his job. His so called reforms of the Police, the lies regarding job losses, problems with stop and search, armed police, court closures and the careless approach to corroboration have clearly lost him any support he had within his party.
I hope that Michael Matheson will bring some common sense to the justice portfolio and I am more than happy to work with him.
Whilst I appreciate that the new First Minister wants to freshen up her Government, it is essential that important issues don’t get lost in the reshuffle. Last week I accepted Mike Russell’s promise to come to Parliament before Christmas to tell the survivors of historic child sexual abuse about his plans for a public enquiry in good faith. He may be gone but I sincerely hope Angela Constance will deliver on that promise.