Scottish Government – Composition


The Scottish Government is made up of the First Minister, Cabinet Secretary’s, junior Scottish Ministers below Cabinet level, and two law officers (the Lord Advocate and the Solicitor General).

The current Scottish Cabinet is formed by the Scottish National Party and comprises:

First Minister – John Swinney

Deputy First Minister and Finance Secretary – Kate Forbes

Secretary for Education and Skills – Jenny Gilruth

Secretary for Finance and Local Government – Shona Robison

Secretary for NHS Recovery, health and social care – Michael Matheson

Secretary for Net Zero, just transition – Mairi McAllan

Secretary for Justice and Home Affairs – Angela Constance

Secretary for Health and Social Care- Neil Gray

Secretary for Transport – Fiona Hyslop

Secretary for Rural Affairs, land reform and Islands – Mairi Gougeon

Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture – Angus Robertson

Secretary for Social Justice – Shirley-Anne Somerville

How the Scottish government is appointed?

The party, or coalition of parties, with the majority of seats in the Scottish parliament forms the Scottish Executive. The First Minister is elected by MSPs and is normally the Leader of the majority party or the lead party in a coalition in the Parliament.

St Andrews House is the headquarters of the Scottish government.

Because the proportional electoral system makes an overall majority for one party harder to obtain (although not always in the case of the Scottish National Party), the first minister may need to be elected by a coalition of parties that have agreed to form the Executive. This coalition would normally include the largest party. In both 1999 and 2003, Labour formed the executive with the Liberal Democrats.

The first minister nominates Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) to be Scottish ministers and junior ministers. Their names are then agreed or rejected by a vote in the Scottish Parliament.

The First Minister also recommends the appointment of two law officers to the Queen. The law officers may or may not be MSPs and normally they are not. For the duration of their appointment, they are considered to have the same status as MSPs but they do not vote in parliament.