25 August 2016
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has appointed Michael Russell to lead the Scottish Government’s discussions with the UK Government on our future relationship with the European Union.
Mr Russell will take up the role as Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe, pending Parliamentary approval.
It follows an agreement with Prime Minister Theresa May that the Scottish Government should be fully involved in the development of the UK Government’s position ahead of Article 50 being triggered and beyond.
Mr Russell will report directly to the First Minister, who said:
This appointment – which is subject to the approval of parliament when it returns after recess – is an indication of the importance I am placing on these negotiations, and our part in them.
“By putting a dedicated and experienced Minister at their centre, it will ensure that Scotland’s voice is heard loudly and clearly. I am confident that Michael Russell will make strong and constructive representation to the UK Government throughout this process.”
Mr Russell was previously Minister for Environment from 2007 until 2009 and then served as Minister for Culture, External Affairs and the Constitution before moving to the role of Education Secretary which he held until 2014.
He said he was delighted to take up the role and added:
While the UK Government is obviously still very unclear about what kind of relationship it wants with the European Union, the Scottish Government is absolutely focused on the important of the EU to Scotland’s economy and our report. Those priorities will be at the heart of our approach to the negotiations.
“Following the overwhelming vote in Scotland to remain in the EU, it is essential that Scotland comes together to defend our national interest. Accordingly in these discussions, it is important the nation speaks, as much as possible, with one voice.”