SNP rising stars Kate Forbes and Gillian Martin were promoted to ministerial jobs yesterday as Nicola Sturgeon completed a dramatic reshuffle.
Ms Forbes, the 28-year-old MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, was made minister for public finance and digital economy after impressing on the backbenches since her election in 2016.
She had also helped draw up the SNP’s new independence blueprint by serving on the Sustainable Growth Commission, and was previously parliamentary liaison officer (PLO) to Finance Secretary Derek Mackay.
Aberdeenshire East MSP Ms Martin, a former college lecturer and PLO to Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham, was made minister for further education, higher education and science in the shake-up.
The pair, who had both been widely tipped for promotion, were among seven of the nine new ministers who were elected in 2016.
Meanwhile, Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart retained his post as minister for local government, housing and planning, while Highlands and islands MSP Maree Todd remains childcare minister.
The changes follow a radical overhaul of the Cabinet on Wednesday which led to the departures of Shona Robison, Keith Brown and Angela Constance from the top team, the appointment of five new Cabinet members.
At ministerial level, Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan and Aberdeen South MSP Maureen Watt lost their roles covering international development and mental health respectively.
Yesterday, a total of nine new ministers were appointed, with Claire Haughey taking over from Ms Watt, and Ben MacPherson succeeding Mr Allan, Mairi Gougeon being given a new role covering rural affairs and the natural environment, and Ivan McKee taking responsibility for trade and investment.
Christina McKelvie was appointed to a new role covering older people and equalities, while Graeme Dey takes on parliamentary business and veterans.
Ms Sturgeon said: “The new ministers I am announcing today bring a range of fresh talent to the Scottish Government, ensuring that we are equipped to deal with the challenges and maximise the opportunities facing the people of Scotland.”
Ms Forbes said: “It’s a great honour as a Highland MSP to be asked to join the government as a minister.”