Humza Yousaf cabinet: Scotland's new First Minister makes appointments to government - who is in his cabinet?

Humza Yousaf has made his cabinet appointment as he takes the reins as First Minster of Scotland (Credit: Getty Images/NationalWorld)Humza Yousaf has made his cabinet appointment as he takes the reins as First Minster of Scotland (Credit: Getty Images/NationalWorld)
Humza Yousaf has made his cabinet appointment as he takes the reins as First Minster of Scotland (Credit: Getty Images/NationalWorld) | Getty Images
Some rising stars like Mairi McAllan and Neil Grey have been given prominent positions in the new cabinet line-up

Newly chosen First Minister of Scotland Humza Yousaf has announced his brand new Scottish Government cabinet - with some promotions and demotions for notable MSPs.

The SNP leader was elected to the highest role in the party on Monday (27 March) after defeating opponents Kate Forbes and Ash Regan in the leadership election. His fellow MSPs then solidified his succession as First Minister after accepting him in a vote at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday (28 March).

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In a special ceremony at Bute House, the official residence of the First Minister, Yousaf was sworn in and was quick to make an announcement on the candidates chosen to join him in his cabinet. Competitor Forbes was among those offered roles.

The former Finance Secretary was offered what was seen to many as a demotion to the Rural Affairs department. Forbes rejected the offer and has since announced her intention to leave government

Yousaf pushed ahead with creating his cabinet, with rising stars such as Mairi McAllan and Neil Grey given prominent positions. Six of the nine appointments were also in Nicola Sturgeon's former governments, leaning in to Yousaf's perceived role as a "continuity candidate" throughout the leadership election.

But who made the cut and how does the new cabinet shape up? Here's everything you need to know?

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Who is in Humza Yousaf's cabinet?

Finance Secretary & Deputy First Minister - Shona Robison

Shona Robison was the first announcement made by Yousaf, who told the media that she had been given the role of Deputy First Minister the night before he was officially sworn in. Robison succeeds John Swinney, who announced he was to step down in tandem with Sturgeon following the end of the leadership contest, as deputy First Minister and Kate Forbes as Finance Secretary.

Robison has been a close personal and political ally of Sturgeon throughout her time in government, beginning her parliamentary career in 1999 alongside the former party leader. This will further cement Yousaf's commitment to continuing Sturgeon's legacy within his own cabinet.

The MSP for Dundee City East is aligned with the new First Minister on issues such as gender reform, with both enthusiastically backing the bill. Robison has held previous roles in government such as Health and Sport Secretary and Social Justice, Housing and Local Government Secretary under Sturgeon.

Wellbeing Economy, Fair Work and Energy Secretary- Neil Grey

Neil Grey is a new name in the SNP, having only entered parliament during the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections. He previously served as an MP for Airdrie and Shotts, the same constiuency he now serves in the Scottish Parliament.

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Grey previously held a role as a culture secretary under Sturgeon's government. His appointment as Wellbeing Economy, Fair Work and Energy Secretary is his first in a cabinet position.

Net Zero Secretary - Mairi McAllan

Much like Grey, Mairi McAllan has seen her star rise within the party since her election in 2021 as MSP for Clydesdale. The former solicitor has been appointed as Net Zero and Just Transition Secretary, a newly created role to focus on the environmental concerns.

McAllan previously served as an environment minister under Sturgeon.

Social Justice Secretary - Shirley-Anne Somerville

Shirley-Anne Somerville will take up the role of Social Justice Secretary, moving from her previous role as Education Secretary. She has held multiple senior cabinet roles within the Scottish Government under Sturgeon's leadership, including Social Security Secretary from 2018 until 2021.

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Education Secretary - Jenny Gilruth

Jenny Gilruth moves into the position left vacant from Somerville's move to Social Justice. The appointment marks her first time being given a cabinet role.

Gilruth has served as an MSP for Mid Fife and Glenrothes since 2016. During her time in parliament, she served as transport minister under Sturgeon, and also culture minister.

Culture Secretary - Angus Robertson

Robertson will remain Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Secretary. He was first appointed to the role in 2021 by Sturgeon after the Scottish Parliament elections. The MSP for Edinburgh Central is a prominent name within the party and a close ally of the former First Minister.

He held the role of deputy leader from 2016 until 2018, and previously held a seat as an MP before running for the Scottish Parliament elections. During his time in Westminster, Robertson was party leader in the House of Commons for a decade from 2007.

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Health Secretary - Michael Matheson

Michael Matheson has moved from Transport Secretary to the role of Health Secretary under Yousaf's leadership. He takes up the mantle from the newly elected First Minister himself, who served as Health Secretary up until his succession of Sturgeon.

The MSP for Falkirk West is a well-known cabinet name. Prior to his almost five-year stint as Transport Secretary, he held the role of Justice Secretary from 2014 until 2018.

Justice Secretary - Angela Constance

Angela Constance has been placed back into the Scottish Government cabinet after being removed from the cabinet in 2018. The MSP for Almond Valley served as Communities, Social Security and Equalities Secretary from 2016 until 2018, as well having served as Education Secretary from 2014 until 2016.

Prior to her cabinet promotion, Constance served as a drugs minister under Sturgeon's most recent government.

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Rural Affairs Secretary - Mairi Gougeon

Mairi Gougeon will remain as Rural Affairs Secretary. It comes after new that Kate Forbes turned the role down.

Gougeon has been an MSP since 2016. Her rural affair appointment, which was handed to her by Sturgeon in 2021, was her first cabinet appointment.

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