Sturgeon chairs final Cabinet meeting as First Minister of Scotland

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Nicola Sturgeon has chaired her final Cabinet meeting before leaving office next week.

Ms Sturgeon will be succeeded as first minister by either Kate Forbes, Humza Yousaf or Ash Regan when the SNP leadership race comes to an end on Monday.

According to a readout from the First Minister’s office, Cabinet ministers paid tribute to the service of both her and Deputy First Minister John Swinney during the meeting – which Ms Sturgeon said was the 637th under an SNP Government.

A spokesman for the First Minister said after the meeting: “Today’s Cabinet allowed colleagues to thank the First Minister and Deputy First Minister for their tireless commitment to public service and to making Scotland a better country for all of those who call this nation home.

“The First Minister and Deputy First Minister, in turn, thanked colleagues for their unstinting backing – and also made clear they will continue to offer their support from the backbenches as a new generation takes up the baton to take Scotland forward and complete the country’s journey to independence.”

During the meeting, the First Minister said one of the policies discussed at Cabinet during her tenure of which she was most proud was the minimum unit pricing of alcohol.

Enacted despite serious legal challenge, the policy – according to a report from medical journal The Lancet – could have saved as many as 156 lives per year on average since 2018.

On social media, Ms Sturgeon paid tribute to Mr Swinney – her deputy for her entire tenure in Bute House – as well as describing her time in office as “a privilege beyond words”.

“This morning I chaired my last meeting of @scotgov Cabinet,” she said.

“By my side, as he has been throughout my time as First Minister, and also taking part in his final Cabinet meeting, was @JohnSwinney.”

While Mr Swinney said: “To serve Scotland has been the privilege of my life.”

One of the most senior members of the Cabinet, External Affairs Secretary Angus Robertson, said on Twitter: “Today was the last Scottish Cabinet meeting for First Minister @NicolaSturgeon and Deputy FM @JohnSwinney.

“Thanks to them both for their tremendous public service. It has been an honour and a privilege to serve in her Cabinet.”

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