Emotional Nicola Sturgeon wipes away tear in final speech as Scotland's First Minister

23 March 2023, 14:56 | Updated: 23 March 2023, 15:32

Nicola Sturgeon wipes away tear (r) and leaving Scottish Assembly for the final time
Nicola Sturgeon wipes away tear (r) and leaving Scottish Assembly for the final time. Picture: Alamy

By StephenRigley

Emotional Nicola Sturgeon fought back tears after delivering her final speech to the Scottish Parliament as First Minister.

The SNP leader said she is “overwhelmingly proud” of what her Government has achieved and that her successor would have "a tough job", but they would "build on [her] record and continue to maintain the trust of Scottish people".

She defended her party's record in government against criticism from both the Conservatives and Labour over the performance of the NHS, the gender recognition bill and drug related deaths in Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon leaves chamber after addressing Parliament for final time as First Minister of Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon wipes away a tear during her final appearance as First Minister
Nicola Sturgeon wipes away a tear during her final appearance as First Minister. Picture: Alamy
Nicola Sturgeon meets the media after her final speech as First Minister
Nicola Sturgeon meets the media after her final speech as First Minister. Picture: Alamy

Read More: LBC's SNP hustings debate as it happened, with candidates going head to head to replace Nicola Sturgeon

Read More: 'That's a cop out!': SNP candidates clash over controversial gender recognition reform in LBC hustings

Beginning her final speech, she said: "No matter what I do in future, nothing, absolutely nothing will come close to the experience of the past 3,046 days."

Being first minister of the country I love has been a profound honour."As the first female in the top role in Scotland, Sturgeon said marking the three year anniversary since the first Covid lockdown was something she said "defined" her time in office.

Holding back tears, she delivered a final thank you to the people of Scotland: “Whether you voted for me or not… thank you so much for placing your trust in me."

“Words will never adequately convey the gratitude and the awe I hold in my heart for the opportunity I have had to serve as your First Minister.

“It truly has been the privilege of my lifetime.”

Three candidates, Humza Yousaf, Kate Forbes and Ash Regan are vying for the party leadership.

Earlier this week the trio clashed at the LBC hustings over gender recognition reform.

Yousaf – seen by critics as the Nicola Sturgeon continuity candidate – said he wanted to see leadership from the party so minority rights, like trans people's, are protected.

Ms Forbes said she did not want to pause the reform but stopped short of backing its continuation in its current form, while Ms Regan said she wanted a "citizen's assembly" to decide the issue.

Voting for the party's new leader and the winner will be announced on Monday.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Rowling criticises Sir Keir along with several members of his shadow cabinet

JK Rowling 'struggling to support' Labour over Sir Keir's stance on transgender rights that's 'abandoning' women

Taylor Swift poses with the Royal Family

Taylor Swift takes selfie with William, George and Charlotte - as Prince of Wales spotted dancing away to ‘Shake It Off’

Exclusive
Chris Packham has blamed the media for the radical action of Just Stop Oil

Environmental activist Chris Packham blames media for existence of Just Stop Oil

Starmer labels Farage's comments 'disgraceful'

Farage’s comments on Ukraine are ‘disgraceful’, Starmer tells LBC, as PM accuses him of ‘playing into Putin’s hands’

Timberlake was arrested after having dinner with friends on Long Island

Justin Timberlake breaks silence on drink-driving arrest at Chicago concert

Live
Nigel Farage

General Election LIVE: Tories rally against Farage after Reform leader says West provoked Russia into invading Ukraine

Dr Michael Mosley and his wife, Clare.

‘We miss him so much’: Michael Mosley’s widow says she will continue his work in emotional tribute

Temperatures are expected to soar to 30C

Exact date Brits to bask in 30C heat as Met Office predicts first official heatwave of summer

The four individuals were given sentences ranging from four to four-and-a-half years

Four members of Britain's richest family handed jail sentences after exploiting servants in Geneva villa

Jay Slater had travelled to the Canary Islands for a music festival

Search for missing British teenager in Tenerife hindered by social media conspiracy theories

Damage can be seen to a front window law enforcement officers work the scene of a shooting at the Mad Butcher grocery store in Fordyce, Ark

Three killed and 10 injured in shooting at supermarket in Arkansas

Jay Slater had travelled to the Canary Islands for a music festival

Spanish police reject help from Lancashire Constabulary as desperate search for missing Brit Jay Slater continues

Kemi Badenoch has warned that Labour will reverse Brexit

Keir Starmer will 'reverse Brexit' if Labour wins election, Kemi Badenoch warns

Jay Slater had travelled to the Canary Islands for a music festival

Owner of flat where missing Brit Jay Slater was staying in Tenerife spotted him 'walking fast' up dangerous ravine

Labour is said to be drafting options for wealth taxes

Labour 'draws up plans for wealth taxes' in bid to 'unlock' funds for public services

Nigel Farage said that the West had provoked Putin into invading Ukraine

'We gave Putin an excuse': Nigel Farage says the West provoked Russia into invading Ukraine