Who is in Yousaf’s first Scottish Cabinet?

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Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf has appointed his Cabinet on his first official day in the top job.

Those who sit around the top table will be charged with making some of the most important decisions in the country, and will be expected to wrangle with the biggest problems facing Scotland.

With some of Mr Yousaf’s choices making their first foray into the Scottish Government’s top table, here we take a closer look at Scotland’s new Cabinet ministers.

– Shona Robison: Deputy First Minister and Finance Secretary

Shona Robison
The Deputy First Minister was the first appointment made by Humza Yousaf (Andrew Milligan/PA)

She has been an MSP since the Scottish Parliament was established in 1999 and joined the Scottish Government when the SNP first came to power in 2007.

Ms Robison was promoted to the cabinet in 2014 by Alex Salmond, and became health secretary later that year after her friend and ally Nicola Sturgeon became first minister. However, Ms Robison quit the job in 2018 after facing a barrage of criticism over NHS waiting times and financial issues at NHS Tayside.

She rejoined the cabinet in 2021, and in her most recent role as social justice secretary she oversaw controversial reforms to the gender recognition process, which were passed by Holyrood in December but have been blocked by the Westminster Government.

– Neil Gray: Wellbeing Economy Secretary

Neil Gray
Mr Yousaf’s campaign manager was given the post of Wellbeing Economy Secretary (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Representing Airdrie and Shotts, he stood down from the same seat at Westminster to contest the 2021 Holyrood election, and was appointed a junior minister, as well as given responsibility for Ukrainian refugees settling in Scotland.

The father-of-four was born and brought up on Orkney and previously worked as a journalist.

– Angus Robertson: Constitution Secretary

Humza Yousaf and Angus Robertson
Mr Robertson has kept his brief (Jane Barlow/PA)

Elected to Holyrood in 2021, Mr Robertson was immediately given the job of Constitution, Culture and External Affairs Secretary – a role to which he was reappointed by Mr Yousaf.

Mr Robertson was tipped as a potential first minister himself, but turned down the chance to run due to having a two young children.

– Angela Constance: Justice Secretary

Angela Constance entering Bute House
The former drugs minister has been promoted (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Her new role as Justice and Home Affairs Secretary is the eighth post she has held, including two stints in cabinet as education secretary, and training, youth and women’s employment secretary.

Born in Blackburn, West Lothian – near her current Almond Valley seat – Ms Constance worked as a social worker before entering politics.

– Michael Matheson: Health Secretary

Michael Matheson
The new Health Secretary is a Government veteran (Andrew Milligan/PA)

But he enters the portfolio with some experience, having spent three years as public health minister between 2011 and 2014, followed by a succession of cabinet posts.

Glasgow-born Mr Matheson has three children and was elected in the first wave of MSPs in 1999.

– Mairi McAllan: Net-Zero Secretary

Mairi Gougeon walking into Bute House
Mairi McAllan takes on a Cabinet role aged just 30 (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The Clydesdale constituency MSP is seen as a rising star in the SNP and went straight into a Government role as environment minister after being elected in 2021. Prior to this, she was a special adviser to Ms Sturgeon on the environment.

She has now been promoted to Cabinet as Net-Zero Secretary.

The former lawyer was a strong supporter of Mr Yousaf in the leadership election, appearing with him as he visited Lanark on the campaign trail.

– Mairi Gougeon: Rural Affairs Secretary

Mairi Gougeon entering Bute House
Mairi Gougeon was reappointed as Rural Affairs Secretary (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The 37-year-old has represented Angus North and Mearns since 2016, an area she previously represented as a councillor.

She entered the Scottish Government in 2018, and in 2020 she took over as minister for public health and sport, following Joe FitzPatrick’s resignation due to rising drug deaths.

Farmers’ groups have urged her to provide clarity on support for the agricultural sector in the upcoming Agriculture Bill.

– Jenny Gilruth: Education Secretary

Jenny Gilruth and Humza Yousaf
Ms Gilruth is a former teacher who is now Education Secretary (Jane Barlow/PA)

In 2017, it emerged she was in a relationship with Kezia Dugdale, who at that point was the Scottish Labour leader. They married in a private ceremony in Fife in June 2022.

A former modern studies teacher, she now takes on the education portfolio.

– Shirley-Anne Somerville: Social Justice Secretary

Shirley-Anne Somerville entering Bute House
Ms Somerville was education secretary while Scottish teachers staged a number of strikes (Andrew Milligan/PA)

She has previously worked as a parliamentary researcher, as well as at the Royal College of Nursing and at the Chartered Institute of Housing.

Ms Somerville was also the director of communities for the pro-independence campaign group Yes Scotland.

As education secretary under Ms Sturgeon, Ms Somerville she faced pressure from teaching unions during the long-running industrial dispute.

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