The Scottish Energy ministerial portfolio could be up grabs in Sturgeon’s next cabinet reshuffle after Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today took the first step to reshuffle her cabinet following last week’s Holyrood parliamentary elections.
She announced that the Finance Minister portfolio – currently held by Deputy First Minister John Swinney – will be split into two jobs, one on finance and taxation with the other leading on business and the economy.
The result of this step could herald a promotion to a full cabinet job as Business Minister for Fergus Ewing, presently Scottish Energy Minister.
It would then make it easier for Sturgeon to fill the junior, non-cabinet role of Scottish Environment Minister after the Tories defeated the SNP’s Aileen McLeod in the re-shaped Galloway and West Dumfries constituency seat (as exclusively revealed earlier this week Scottish Energy News)
In a defensive move against potential political attacks from the pro-business Tories – now the second largest party in Holyrood and the Official Opposition in the Scottish Parliament – Sturgeon said that she plans to place ‘renewed emphasis’ on the economy by hiving this off portfolio off from finance.
Sturgeon said that the newly created economy role will aim to “stimulate growth, boost productivity and create jobs”.
But Sturgeon declined to answer questions on who the new Business Minister will be – possibly because she is still gauging how much political pressure the six new Green MSPs can put the SNP under in Holyrood over fracking
The title and role of the Scottish Energy Minister is now being increasingly caught in political cross-fire over the future, or not, of the Scottish shale energy industry.
Fergus Ewing announced a ‘temporary’ moratorium imposed last year pending the outcome of evidence-led scientific consultation on the public safety aspects of ‘fracking’ – but in her election manifesto, Sturgeon said she was ‘deeply sceptical’ about permitting shale exploration in Scotland.
The identity of the new Scottish Business Minister – which is already part of Fergus Ewing’s current portfolio along with tourism – may be reveal on 19 May when Sturgeon is expected to be formally confirmed as Scottish First Minister for the new parliamentary session.
The environment is too important a post to be left vacant. Scottish Energy News has invited the Scottish Environment Minister to attend SCOTLAND’S RENEWABLE FUTURE.
We just hope there will (still) be a Scottish Environment Minister to take part in the debate with Scotland’s renewable industry by then when, time and time again, the industry has said that it wants policy –
If you want to contribute to the debate on SCOTLAND’S RENEWABLE FUTURE – along with Holyrood MPs from all parties – then come along and make your voice heard on Thursday, 26 May 2016 at the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation.
* SCOTLAND’S RENEWABLE FUTURE conference, 26 May 2016.
For more information: http://www.scotlandsrenewablefuture.co.uk/
Meanwhile, ALAN DUNCAN is one of many prominent speakers at SCOTLAND’S RENEWABLE FUTURE forum. He will speak on the topic: “Where Did the ‘Saudi Arabia of Renewables’ Go Wrong?”