Holyrood “is not the collaborative place it has been in the past,” Scotland’s new First Minister has admitted. 

As he accepted their nomination to lead the Scottish Government, John Swinney told MSPs he would commit his minority administration to do more to “create agreement across the Chamber".

While he also confessed to playing a part in making the Scottish Parliament “intensely polarised" through his “shouted put downs from the front bench or heckling from a sedentary position” he promised that this would now stop. 

“I have changed,” he said to grumbling and laughter from some sceptical MSPs. 

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The SNP leader will formally become Scotland’s seventh first minister on Wednesday morning when he swears the oath of allegiance at the court of session.

As he waited for the vote in Holyrood, he spoke to Scotland's fifth first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and its sixth Humza Yousaf, who earlier in the day had tendered his resignation to King Charles.

One of Mr Swinney's first jobs will be to appoint his cabinet.

There has been speculation that the size of the Swinney administration will be significantly smaller than the size of Mr Yousaf's government.

Some ministerial and Cabinet Secretary roles could be merged while others could be dropped altogether.

Mr Swinney has already promised a “significant” role for Kate Forbes, the former finance secretary.

There is speculation she could pick up her old brief. 

There is also some suggestion of a key role for Màiri McAllan, the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture, possibly even deputy first minister. 

She flanked Mr Swinney as he left the chamber, standing by his side as he answered questions from broadcasters.

Tuesday’s vote in Holyrood was, in the end, a formality with the Scottish Greens abstaining, allowing Mr Swinney to win by 64 votes to 57.

Accepting the nomination, Mr Swinney paid an emotional tribute to his family. 

His wife, the journalist Elizabeth Quigley, has secondary progressive Multiple Sclerosis.

She and their son Matthew and his two older children from a previous marriage were in the public gallery along with his father, other close family members and friends. 

The Herald:

He told MSPs that the decision to stand for the SNP’s leadership had not been an easy one. “Members will know that my wife Elizabeth has multiple sclerosis. She is indefatigable in trying to make sure that MS does not get in the way of her living life to the full. 

“But much to her frustration, she does often have to rely on her husband for support and assistance. 

“I could not just commit myself to become First Minister without properly working out how we will be able to manage as a family. 

“We have talked that through and we will manage. 

“But I cannot let this moment pass without making clear to Elizabeth my profound eternal gratitude for the sacrifices she is prepared to make to enable her husband to serve our country as First Minister.”

Mr Swinney repeated that his main priority would be the eradication of child poverty and that he and his minority government would need the support of others to achieve that aim.

“This is not the collaborative place it has been in the past, a collaborative place that has done much good to improve the lives of people in Scotland

“As the Parliament marks its 25-year anniversary, and as one of the now relatively small group who have been here from the start, I reflect on the major developments that have taken place by collaborative work and agreement over that time. 

“Major developments taken forward by the Labour and Liberal Executive such as the ban on smoking in public places, or Minimum Unit Pricing by the SNP Government, or the introduction of free bus travel for under 22s by the SNP-Green partnership.

“I commit my Government to working to create that agreement across the Chamber. I hope there is the space and the willingness for that to happen in the interests of the people who sent us here.”

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Mr Swinney said “disagreement on the Constitution” should not prevent members from “working collaboratively within the existing powers of the parliament to eradicate child poverty, build the economy, support jobs, address the cost of living crisis, improve the health service and tackle the climate crisis.

“I will give all of my energy, and my willingness to engage and listen, to ensure that is not the case. I invite others to do the same."

The Herald:

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross congratulated Mr Swinney on his appointment but said he should “treat today as a reset moment".

The Tory leader added: “They must bring an end to the decade of division that has plagued our country since the 2014 Referendum.”

He said he was not hopeful given that Mr Swinney had been at the heart of the SNP for almost all of its 17 years in government.  “He has been Alex Salmond’s Finance Secretary, Nicola Sturgeon’s deputy, and Humza Yousaf’s most prominent supporter.

“He sat around the cabinet table and rubber-stamped every single one of the polices they enacted.”

Labour’s Anas Sawar made a similar point: “For all John Swinney and the SNP want to pretend that this is day one of a new Government, the hard fact is that after 17 years of this SNP Government there is not a single Scottish institution that is stronger.”

“Every single one is weaker on their watch,” he added.

The party leader repeated his call for an early Holyrood election, accusing the SNP of being “terrified of the electorate.”