BREAKING: Nicola Sturgeon resigns as Scotland's First Minister amid row over 'trans rights'

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that she is resigning after more than eight years in the role.

Mia Ashton Montreal QC

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that she is resigning after more than eight years in the role.

At a press conference Wednesday, Sturgeon said she knew in her head and in her heart that it was the right time to resign, and that the decision “comes from a place of duty and of love.”

“Since my very first moments in the job, I have believed that part of serving well would be to know almost instinctively when the time is right to make way for someone else, and when that time came to have the courage to do so even if to many across the country, and in my party, it might feel too soon,” said Sturgeon. 

“In my head and in my heart, I know that time is now that it is right for me, for my party and for the country, and so today I am announcing my intention to step down as first minister and leader of my party.

Sturgeon acknowledged that while some will feel upset by her announcement, others will “cope with the news just fine.” 

“Such is the beauty of democracy,” she added.

Sturgeon’s popularity has plummeted in recent months amidst the controversy male rapists in women's prisons and the proposed Gender Recognition Reform Bill that was blocked by the British Parliament, but Sturgeon claimed that her decision to step down was not a “reaction to short-term pressures.”

Sturgeon said she had plenty of experience “navigating choppy waters to resolve seemingly intractable issues,” and “soldiering on when walking away would be a simpler option.”

While the response on social media was largely related to the gender issue, at the end of Wednesday's press conference, Sturgeon was asked if she expected to be interviewed by police in the investigation of her party's finances. Sturgeon refused to comment on an ongoing police investigation.

Last week, Scottish National Party MP Stewart McDonald revealed he had been hacked and his emails stolen. Then, days later, former diplomat Craig Murray said he had received the cache of emails and announced his intention to publish certain material which he deems to be non-personal and in the public interest, reports the BBC.

Murray was jailed for eight months in 2021 for contempt of court after writing blog posts covering the Alex Salmond trial. Former First Minister Salmond was on trial for sexual assault allegations and was acquitted of all charges. Prosecutors raised concerns that complainants could be identified by the information contained within Murray’s coverage.

Now Murray, who has long been a critic of the current SNP government, intends to release material of “legitimate public interest, relating to interactions with NATO, the British military and MOD, the Integrity Initiative and journalists in that crooked network, parliamentary committees, intelligence agencies, foreign powers, UK government defence institutes and conservative think tanks,” Murray said in an article published on his blog.

A spokesperson for Police Scotland told the BBC that a “report has been received and is being assessed.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

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