Nicola Sturgeon has announced her resignation as First Minister of Scotland, citing her “duty and love” for her country. Her decision to step down follows the UK Parliament’s blocking of a gender reform bill passed by the Scottish government that would have allowed people to legally change their gender based on self-identification. This was the first time since devolution in 1998 that the UK government had made such an order.
Sturgeon also came under pressure after a transgender rapist, who had changed his name from Adam Graham to Isla Bryson, was set to be sent to a female jail. Sturgeon eventually confirmed that Bryson would be held in a men’s jail prior to sentencing.
In her resignation speech, Sturgeon said she had been wrestling with two questions: “Is carrying on right for me? And is it right for the country and the party and the independence cause I’ve devoted my life to?” She also said she would always be a feminist and fight for women’s rights.
Alison Thewliss, the SNP’s home affairs spokesperson, wrote on Twitter in response to the news of Sturgeon’s resignation: “Absolutely gutted about this. Nicola has been an incredible leader.”
Sturgeon had been pushing for a second referendum on independence and said she wanted to hold it in October 2023, but the British government rejected that. Her replacement will have the task of leading Scotland to independence. Ian Blackford stepped down as the SNP’s leader at Westminster in December and was replaced by Stephen Flynn.