WITH just days to go until she heads to the backbenches, Nicola Sturgeon has chaired her cabinet for the final time.

Cameras were allowed into Bute House to capture the moment for posterity. 


Many of those squeezed around the table could soon find themselves out of a job or being moved to a different portfolio. 

Sitting beside Ms Sturgeon was her loyal deputy, John Swinney. He too is set to stand down from government next week.

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A statement released by the government on Tuesday afternoon said the cabinet "took time to reflect and pay thanks to the FM and the DFM, and their 32 years of combined service in Government."

Ms Sturgeon said that, by her calculation, this was the 637th cabinet under the SNP Government.

As well as thanking their cabinet colleagues, Ms Sturgeon and Mr Swinney also paid tribute to "the many civil servants who had helped and supported them over the years."

A spokesperson for the First Minister said: “Today’s Cabinet allowed colleagues to thank the First Minister and Deputy First Minister for their tireless commitment to public service and to making Scotland a better country for all of those who call this nation home.

“The FM and DFM in turn thanked colleagues for their unstinting backing – and also made clear they will continue to offer their support from the backbenches as a new generation takes up the baton to take Scotland forward and complete the country’s journey to independence.”

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On social media, Ms Sturgeon paid tribute to Mr Swinney.

“This morning I chaired my last meeting of @scotgov Cabinet,” she tweeted.

“By my side, as he has been throughout my time as First Minister, and also taking part in his final Cabinet meeting, was @JohnSwinney.”

While Mr Swinney said: “To serve Scotland has been the privilege of my life.”

One of the most senior members of the Cabinet, External Affairs Secretary Angus Robertson, said on Twitter: “Today was the last Scottish Cabinet meeting for First Minister @NicolaSturgeon and Deputy FM @JohnSwinney.

“Thanks to them both for their tremendous public service. It has been an honour and a privilege to serve in her Cabinet.”

The result of the SNP leadership contest is expected at some point on Monday, with the winner then facing a vote in Holyrood on Tuesday.

Humza Yousaf, one of the three vying to replace Ms Sturgeon was one of those at the final cabinet. 

Kate Forbes is still on maternity leave, and Ash Regan is a backbencher. 

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Ms Sturgeon still has a number of events in her diary before she hands over the keys to Bute House. 

She is due to make a statement in Holyrood tomorrow apologising for forced adoption. It is estimated that around 250,000 families in Scotland have been impacted by historical practice which saw unmarried women “shamed” and “coerced” into giving up their babies during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

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Following her final First Minister's Questions on Thursday, she'll make a statement to MSPs.

Her last official engagement will be in a healthcare setting on Friday.