With the resignation of Alex Salmond following the ‘No’ vote in last week’s Independence Referendum, it is almost certain that Scotland’s next First Minister will be North Ayrshire’s Nicola Sturgeon.
Ms Sturgeon, MSP for Glasgow Southside, was born in Irvine and grew up in Dreghorn, where her parents still live. Her mother, Joan, is SNP councillor for Irvine East and Provost of North Ayrshire.
Currently Deputy Leader of the Scottish National Party and Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon is likely to be the only candidate to succeed Alex Salmond. She would become the first female First Minister of Scotland.
Ms Sturgeon is acknowledged, even by opponents, as being a top-level politician whose reputation was further enhanced by very strong performances throughout the recent referendum campaign.
Speaking as she launched her campaign to replace Mr Salmond, Nicola Sturgeon said, “To be the First Minister of my country, especially at this exciting and optimistic time, would be both a great honour - without doubt, the greatest honour - and an immense responsibility.
"I am putting myself forward for two simple reasons: I want to serve my party and my country; and I believe I am the best person for the job.”
The woman whose first political involvement was supporting the SNP’s Kay Ullrich during an election campaign in the local seat of Cunninghame South noted, “I also hope that my candidacy, should it succeed, will send a strong message to every girl and young woman in Scotland - no matter your background or what you want to achieve in life, in Scotland in 2014 there is no glass ceiling on ambition.”
Ms Sturgeon praised Mr Salmond who will stand down as SNP Leader and First Minister in November, saying, “Alex Salmond transformed the SNP and as First Minister he has made Scotland a better place. He also helped to make me the person and politician I am today.
“His are big boots to fill, but if given the opportunity to lead, I will wear my own shoes - and they will certainly have higher heels. I will be my own person and set my own course.”
Nicola Sturgeon joined the SNP in 1986 at the age of 16. She now lives in Glasgow with her husband, Peter Murrell, who is the Chief Executive of the Scottish National Party.