NICOLA Sturgeon has resigned as Scotland’s First Minister, having spent more than eight years in the role.

She assumed office on November 20, 2014, after the resignation of her predecessor Alex Salmond.

Her entry into full-time politics came when she was first elected to the Scottish Parliament in 1999.

READ MORE: POLL: Who should take over from Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister?

We’ve taken a look at the key moments from the First Minister’s time in office.

The 58%

During Nicola Sturgeon’s time in office, support for independence surged. A poll released in 2020 found that 58% of people would support Yes in a future referendum.

Ipsos Mori carried out the survey of more than 1000 voters in Scotland, also finding that 64% felt there should be a referendum by 2025.

Following the Supreme Court ruling, support was at a whopping 56% as numerous polls showed support for Yes.

Meanwhile, a poll commissioned exclusively for The National found that support for independence was at 54% among those likely to vote and once don’t knows were excluded.

The same findings showed No was on 46% – nearly a complete reversal of the 2014 result.


Sturgeon’s historic leadership saw her face a global pandemic as she announced a string of restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus.

As far as the polls were concerned, Sturgeon handled things better than the UK Government, with reports in May 2020 suggesting more than three-quarters of Scots thought the Scottish Government had handled the crisis well.

Just 19% of those surveyed by YouGov said the pandemic was handled badly in Scotland at that time. 

By contrast, 55% of Scots thought Boris Johnson's handling of Covid-19 was incompetent. 

She said during her resignation press conference on Wednesday that handling the pandemic was the hardest thing she had ever had to do.


The eyes of the world were on Scotland as it held the global climate conference with delegates from all across the world descending on Glasgow.

She was awarded the “Ray of the Day” award after she announced a £1 million commitment to tackle loss and damage caused by climate change would be doubled.

Saleemul Huq, director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development, praised the FM as becoming the “true leader” who emerged from the summit.

More than 40,000 people attended – a higher number than any of the previous summits – along with tens of thousands of activists.

Sturgeon said it was “one of the most important events ever held in Scotland”.

Scottish Child Payment

The payment, which has been hailed as a “life saver” by charity bosses, was launched by the Scottish Government in February 2021.

It is a weekly payment of £25 for every child who is under the age of 16 with people on a range of benefits able to apply.

In December, analysis by the Child Poverty Action Group showed that the financial boost from policies ranging from the Scottish Child Payment to free bus travel could help reduce the cost of bringing up a child by a third for low-income families.

The baby box

Not only has the baby box been well received in Scotland, it’s also been well received internationally.

Since 2017, the Scottish Government has promised to provide all newborn babies in Scotland with their own baby box which includes essentials for babies such as clothing and a toothbrush.

Following the introduction of the scheme, boxes worth up to300 started to be rolled out in Ireland following discussions with the Scottish Government

A string of prime ministers

Since assuming office, Sturgeon saw off four prime ministers including David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss.  

She described Johnson as “one of the worst prime ministers in our lifetimes”.

The National: Liz Truss previously said the FM was best ignoredLiz Truss previously said the FM was best ignored

Sturgeon also outlasted two Scottish Conservative leaders, Jackson Carlaw and Ruth Davidson.

The latter said the FM had done “one helluva job” in a post on social media.

Dealing with far-right extremists

Sturgeon rebuked far-right extremists who accosted her outside of a polling station.

The First Minister was meeting and greeting voters in her Glasgow Southside constituency when she was approached by convicted racist and former deputy leader of fascist organisation Britain First Jayda Fransen.

After Fransen made a remark about immigrants, Sturgeon said: “You are a fascist. You are a racist. And the southside of Glasgow will reject you.”

@scotnational Nicola Sturgeon let far-right thugs know what the people of Glasgow thought of them... #indyref2 #nicolasturgeon #snp #scottish #scotland ♬ original sound - The National

The SNP leader received a lot of praise on social media for her response to Fransen, with one saying that she handled the situation "like a pro”.

“Nicola’s strength and conviction here is absolutely fantastic,” added another.

Taking the Tories to task

Despite their best efforts, Sturgeon never seemed phased by the Tories.

There are so many examples of the First Minister taking them to task over a number of issues from poverty to the economy.

Here, she hit out at Conservative MSPs for becoming “uncomfortable” when poverty was mentioned in the Scottish Parliament.

The list really is endless. On another occasion, Sturgeon was left completely unimpressed as a Tory MSP suggested Brexit has nothing to do with the Scottish Parliament during a session of FMQs.

“Brexit has been an unmitigated disaster. A Tory-imposed disaster”, she said.

When Labour asked for some help…

In the run-up to one election, Labour were clearly in such “dire straits” as Sturgeon put it that they turned to the FM for help.

Sturgeon explained how she had received an email from then Labour leader Kezia Dugdale asking her to be a volunteer on election day.

Even Dugdale found it hard not to laugh. “I think I’m busy that day,” said Sturgeon.