Third Sturgeon government

Nicola Sturgeon formed the third Sturgeon government following her Scottish National Party's victory in the 2021 Scottish Parliament election. Sturgeon was nominated by a vote of the 6th Scottish Parliament for appointment to the post of first minister on 18 May 2021 and announced the formation of a new Scottish National Party minority government on 20 May.[1]

Third Sturgeon government
9th devolved administration of Scotland
Nicola Sturgeon's cabinet outside Bute House, 2021
Date formed20 May 2021
People and organisations
MonarchElizabeth II
First MinisterNicola Sturgeon
First Minister's history2014–present
Deputy First MinisterJohn Swinney
No. of ministers27
Total no. of members27
Member party
  •   Scottish National Party
Status in legislatureMinority
64 / 129(50%)
Opposition cabinetShadow Cabinet of Douglas Ross
Opposition party
Opposition leaderDouglas Ross
Election(s)2021 general election
Legislature term(s)6th Scottish Parliament
PredecessorSecond Sturgeon government

Sturgeon is the first first minister in the history of the Scottish Parliament to form a third administration.


In the May 2021 Scottish Parliament election, the Scottish National Party (SNP) won 64 of the 129 seats contested.[2] Incumbent First Minister Nicola Sturgeon soon afterwards announced her intention to form a minority government. She was nominated for the post of first minister by a vote of the Scottish Parliament on 18 May, defeating Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross and Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie by 64 votes to 31 and 4 respectively.

Long standing ministers Jeane Freeman, Michael Russell, Roseanna Cunningham and Aileen Campbell did not seek re-election to the 6th Scottish Parliament, with Fiona Hyslop and Fergus Ewing standing down from government.[3] This left Sturgeon with many empty posts.

Shortly after being elected, Sturgeon re-appointed John Swinney as Deputy First minister of Scotland and also appointed him the newly created Cabinet Secretary for Covid Recovery post.[4] Humza Yousaf, Kate Forbes, Shirley-Anne Somerville and Michael Matheson all remained in government. Shona Robison and Keith Brown made a return to cabinet, having previously served in Sturgeon's governments. Only Mairi Gougeon and Angus Robertson were new to government. The Scottish Parliament confirmed the appointment of ministers and junior ministers on 20 May.[5]

In May 2021, both the Lord Advocate, James Wolffe, and Solicitor General for Scotland, Alison Di Rollo, announced their intention to step down as Scotland's top law officers.[6] On 17 June, Sturgeon nominated Dorothy Bain QC to serve as Lord Advocate and Ruth Charteris QC to serve as Solicitor General. This is the first time in history both posts have been held by women.[7]

Cabinet Secretaries

The first meeting of the third Sturgeon government at St Andrews House, 2021


Post Minister Portrait Term
First Minister The Rt Hon. Nicola Sturgeon MSP 2014–present
Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP 2014–present
Cabinet Secretary for Covid Recovery 2021–present
Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy Kate Forbes MSP 2020–present
Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care Humza Yousaf MSP 2021–present
Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP 2021–present
Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport Michael Matheson MSP 2018–present
Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Veterans Keith Brown MSP 2021–present
Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government Shona Robison MSP 2021–present
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands Mairi Gougeon MSP 2021–present
Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture The Rt Hon. Angus Robertson MSP 2021–present

Junior Ministers

Junior ministers

Post Minister Term
Minister for Drugs Policy Angela Constance MSP 2020–present
Minister for Parliamentary Business George Adam MSP 2021–present
Minister for Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work Richard Lochhead MSP 2021–present
Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise Ivan McKee MSP 2021–present
Minister for Public Finance, Planning and Community Wealth Tom Arthur MSP 2021–present
Minister for Public Health, Women's Health and Sport Maree Todd MSP 2021–present
Minister for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care Kevin Stewart MSP 2021–present
Minister for Children and Young People Clare Haughey MSP 2021–present
Minister for Higher Education and Further Education, Youth Employment and Training Jamie Hepburn MSP 2021–present
Minister for Environment, Biodiversity and Land Reform Mairi McAllan MSP 2021–present
Minister for Transport Graeme Dey MSP 2021–present
Minister for Community Safety Ash Denham MSP 2018–present
Minister for Equalities and Older People Christina McKelvie MSP 2018–present
Minister for Social Security and Local Government Ben MacPherson MSP 2021–present
Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development Jenny Gilruth MSP 2020–present

Scottish Law Officers

Law officers[8]

Post Name Portrait Term
Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain QC 2021–present
Solicitor General for Scotland Ruth Charteris QC 2021–present


  1. "Nicola Sturgeon re-elected as Scotland's first minister". BBC News. 18 May 2021. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  2. "Scottish election 2021: Nicola Sturgeon celebrates 'historic' SNP election win". BBC News. 9 May 2021. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  3. Ross, Calum. "Cabinet Reshuffle: Fergus Ewing and Fiona Hyslop leave top posts". Press and Journal. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
  4. "John Swinney to be minister for Covid recovery". BBC News. 18 May 2021. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  5. "Business Motion". The Scottish Parliament. The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body. 18 May 2021. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  6. "Scotland's lord advocate and solicitor general resign". BBC News. 23 May 2021. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
  7. "Holyrood appoints women as Scotland's top lawyers for the first time". The National. Retrieved 19 June 2021.
  8. "Law Officer appointments -". Retrieved 19 June 2021.