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Westminster Leaders Pay Tribute To "Formidable" Nicola Sturgeon Following Resignation

Outgoing Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (Alamy)

2 min read

Westminster leaders have paid tribute to Nicola Sturgeon, who in a shock announcement on Wednesday said she would resign as Scottish First Minister and Scottish National Party leader.

Speaking at a press conference in Edinburgh this morning, Sturgeon said she could no longer devote "every ounce of energy" that her job requires, having mulled her political future for weeks.

“In my head and in my heart, I know that time is now. It is right for me, for my party and my country," said Sturgeon, who was first elected Scotland's leader in 2014.

She will remain in charge until the SNP elects a successor.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in a tweet thanked Sturgeon for her "long-standing service" and said "I wish her all the best for her next steps".

Labour leader Keir Starmer tweeted that Sturgeon had served with "dedication and passion" during her two decades at the "forefront" of UK politics.

Alister Jack, the Secretary of State for Scotland, described Sturgeon as a "formidable politician" and thanked her "for her service as First Minister for eight years".

"I particularly appreciate the work that she undertook to help us deliver two new Freeports in Scotland, bringing thousands of jobs and millions of pounds of investment," Jack said.

The Cabinet minister added, however, that her resignation presents the devolved government in Holyrood with an opportunity to "change course" from its "divisive obsession with independence".

"I want to see a Scottish Government that works hand in hand with the UK Government to realise our full potential as a country," he said.

Stephen Flynn, the SNP's leader in Westminster, said Sturgeon had been "the outstanding political leader across Scotland, and indeed the rest of the UK, for a generation".

He said the outgoing First Minister had taken support for Scottish independence to "record levels" and enjoyed electoral success that other political parties "could only wish for".

Theresa May, who worked with Sturgeon when she served as UK Prime Minister, said they had a "professional relationship" despite their differences in political opinion, and thanked her for her "long, tireless service to our country".

Ex-PM Gorden Brown wished Sturgeon well for the future.

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