THE First Minister’s unexpected resignation has shaken the independence movement to its core.

The SNP leader confirmed her resignation on Wednesday morning, with a speech delivered from Bute House, just after the news broke online.

Sturgeon said her resignation would accelerate the independence movement because she is a divisive figure.

Announcing her intention to stand down as the head of both the SNP and the Scottish Government, the First Minister said allowing new blood into leadership could “depolarise” a public debate she said was focused on personalities.

Grassroot Yes activists and leaders have shared their reactions with one saying: “I feel sick. This feels like a capitulation to the worst of Scottish politics on both sides of the aisle. God only knows where our country goes next.”

Believe in Scotland

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, the chief executive of Business for Scotland and founder of the Believe in Scotland campaign group said: "We must thank Nicola Sturgeon for her service. Her gargantuan effort during the Covid crisis clearly took its toll- how could it not?

“We wish her all the best in her future endeavours and she will clearly remain a huge asset to the cause of Scottish independence.

“We hope that her successor will do even more to refocus the SNP on the cause of independence as the only sensible solution to the damage that Brexit Britain is doing to Scotland's economy, its people and our democracy."

SNP Activists

The youth wing of SNP paid tributes to Sturgeon who was previously a member and convenor of the organisation.

Vice convenor of SNP Kelvin, Marcus Carlaw, said: "Nicola Sturgeon has done so much to advance the cause of Scottish independence. It's now up to us to finish the job. #ThankYouNicola."

Equalities convenor Kirsteen Fraser, said: "Politics and activism is a brutal, dehumanising and thankless task, so it seems fair enough that Nicola has finally had enough after 30 plus years in public life.

"Finding a natural end and moving on, on your own terms seems appropriate for Nicola Sturgeon and wish her all the best."

Activist and now researcher for the SNP, Aaron Lukas, recalled meeting Sturgeon just weeks before she was elected First Minister. He said: "I was 17 when I voted in the 2014 Indy Ref, I joined my first political party not long after that vote and met Nicola at the roadshow conference for the first time eight years ago, a week before she became First Minister."

Yes Activists

The immediate emotion was shock. One activist wrote, “It's a bit of a shock right now but we keep going” and another said, “I feel sick”.

National columnist, broadcaster and organiser of Time for Scotland, Lesley Riddoch quoted Sturgeon in a tweet and reacted to her resignation live.

Derec Thompson said: “I haven't felt this gutted since 19th September 2014. Nicola Sturgeon is the greatest political leader of my lifetime. Every single one of us in Scotland owes her an enormous debt of gratitude for her service, which must have taken an enormous personal toll.” 

Dani Anslow reacted by saying: "Independence was never about Nicola Sturgeon. If you think it was; you weren’t paying enough attention. This is a movement that will not halt or stop, whoever is at the help. There’s no stuffing this genie back in the lamp so keep the heid."

Yes Groups

Yes for EU paid tribute to the SNP leader by saying: "Thank you, Nicola, for all your work for a better future for Scotland, and taking us a step closer to independence and EU membership."

Scottish Liberals for Indy said: We’re sorry to see Nicola go. Her public service to Scotland has been vast and will be missed. Her commitment to the independence movement and trans rights was what made her so popular.

Women For Independence wrote reacting to her speech: “So proud and teary to think of what Scotland has done under Sturgeon to improve the lives of those struggling with poverty and early years care.”

The Aberdeen Independence movement said: "We would like to thank Nicola Sturgeon for her selfless dedication to the nation & the cause of independence."