Shona Robison
Official portrait, 2021
Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government
Assumed office
20 May 2021
First MinisterNicola Sturgeon
Preceded byAileen Campbell
In office
22 April 2014 – 21 November 2014
First MinisterAlex Salmond
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byAlex Neil
Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport
In office
21 November 2014 – 26 June 2018
First MinisterNicola Sturgeon
Preceded byAlex Neil
Succeeded byJeane Freeman
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Dundee City East
Dundee East (2003–2011)
Assumed office
1 May 2003
Preceded byJohn McAllion
Majority10,898
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for North East Scotland
(1 of 7 Regional MSPs)
In office
6 May 1999 – 1 May 2003
Personal details
Born
Shona McRory Robison

(1966-05-26) 26 May 1966 (age 55)
Redcar, Yorkshire, England
Political partyScottish National Party
Spouse(s)
(m. 1997; div. 2017)
[1]
Children1 daughter
Alma mater
ProfessionCommunity worker, home care organiser
Websiteshona.robison.scot

Shona McRory Robison (born 26 May 1966) is a Scottish National Party (SNP) politician serving as the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government since May 2021. She has been the Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for Dundee City East since 2003[a] and was an additional member for the North East Scotland region from 1999 to 2003. Robison previously served as Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport from 2014 to 2016.

Early life and career

Born in Redcar, England, she went to Alva Academy, and then gained an MA in Social Sciences at Glasgow University in 1989, and gained a Postgraduate Cert in Community Education, obtained in 1990 at Jordanhill College. She was active in the SNP Youth Wing along with figures such as Nicola Sturgeon and Fiona Hyslop.[3]

Political career

Robison speaking at the Parliament of Canada, 2014
Robison speaking at the Parliament of Canada, 2014

In 2003 she became the SNP's Party Spokesperson on Health, remaining in this position until 2007.[4]

After the SNP's victory in the 2007 Scottish Parliament Election, Robison was appointed as the Minister for Public Health.[5] In 2009, she was made Minister for Public Health and Sport in a Ministerial reshuffle.[6] Following the 2011 election, she was made Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport, with Michael Matheson taking on the Minister for Public Health portfolio.

In the run up to the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, Robison wrote to the University of Dundee to complain that a Dundee professor had chaired an event for the Better Together campaign. Robison insisted that Christopher Whatley's involvement in the Five Million Questions project about the implications of the referendum meant he should have taken a neutral stance on the constitutional issue.[7] However, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: “I'm not sure this kind of bullying and intimidation is the best advert for the SNP's vision of a future separate Scotland. In fact, it is chilling."[8]

In April 2014, Alex Salmond promoted her to the full Cabinet position of Cabinet Secretary for Commonwealth Games, Sport, Equalities and Pensioners' Rights. Robison was moved to the Health brief, as Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport, in Nicola Sturgeon's first Ministerial reshuffle in November 2014. On 18 May 2016 Sturgeon reshuffled her cabinet with Robison remaining, with her position now being called Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport.[9]

In January 2018, during an appearance at Holyrood's Health and Sport Committee, she was warned by Labour MSP Neil Findlay of a "drugs disaster".[10] In 2018 Scotland went on to record the highest number of drug deaths per head in the European Union, at a rate nearly three times higher than the UK average.[11]

On 26 June 2018 her resignation from the Cabinet was announced, immediately ahead of a cabinet reshuffle.[12] BBC political correspondent Glenn Campbell wrote after the reshuffle: "The most widely anticipated departure was that of health secretary, Shona Robison. She's been under considerable pressure over NHS performance. She stood down on the day the Scottish government confirmed its worst cancer waiting times for six years."[13]

In February 2021 Audit Scotland published a report that concluded the Scottish Government had not prepared adequately for a pandemic. The watchdog also noted that recommendations from pandemic planning exercises during Robison's time as Health Secretary had not been fully implemented. One particular failure it highlighted was that not enough had been done to ensure Scottish hospitals and care homes had enough personal protective equipment (PPE). Overall, it concluded that ministers "could have been better prepared to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic". Nicola Sturgeon said there were "lots of lessons to learn".[14][15]

Personal life

She was married to Stewart Hosie,[16] who is the Westminster MP for Dundee East and was previously the SNP's Depute Leader. They have one daughter. It was announced on 15 May 2016 that the couple have separated.[17] This was followed by reports that Hosie had had an affair with Westminster-based freelance journalist Serena Cowdy.[18]

Footnotes

  1. ^ The constituency was known as Dundee East until 2011, when it was renamed and redrawn as part of the First Periodical Review of Scottish Parliament Boundaries.[2]

References

  1. ^ Clegg, David (17 May 2019). "SNP infighting more like Game of Thrones plot than conduct of political party". dailyrecord. Retrieved 2 March 2020.
  2. ^ "First Periodical Review of Scottish Parliament Boundaries, Boundary Commission for Scotland website, accessed 20 December 2008". Archived from the original on 17 February 2008. Retrieved 15 February 2008.
  3. ^ "Profile: Shona Robison". 26 June 2018. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
  4. ^ "Previous MSPs: Session 2 (2003–2007): Shona Robison MSP". Scottish Parliament. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
  5. ^ "The Scottish Executive". The Herald (Glasgow). 17 May 2007. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  6. ^ "Previous MSPs: Session 3 (2007–2011): Shona Robison MSP". Scottish Parliament. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
  7. ^ McIntosh, Lindsay. "SNP minister in 'chilling bid to gag academics'" – via www.thetimes.co.uk.
  8. ^ "SNP ministers 'waging dangerous campaign to gag university academics'". www.telegraph.co.uk.
  9. ^ "Scottish cabinet reshuffle: John Swinney becomes education secretary". BBC News. 18 May 2016. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  10. ^ "Health Secretary Shona Robison warned of 'drugs disaster' by Labour MSP". HeraldScotland.
  11. ^ "1,187 drug-deaths in 2018: up 27% in a year - gov.scot". www.gov.scot.
  12. ^ "Shona Robison quits as Nicola Sturgeon reshuffles cabinet". BBC News. 26 June 2018. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  13. ^ "Shona Robison quits as Nicola Sturgeon reshuffles cabinet". BBC News. 26 June 2018 – via www.bbc.com.
  14. ^ "Covid in Scotland: Inadequate preparations for Covid, says watchdog". BBC News. 17 February 2021 – via www.bbc.com.
  15. ^ "Scottish government inadequately prepared for Covid – watchdog". The Guardian. 17 February 2021.
  16. ^ "International Women's Day Debate". House of Commons Hansard Debates. 6 March 2008. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 3 May 2008.
  17. ^ "SNP husband and wife Stewart Hosie and Shona Robison separate". The Scotsman. 16 May 2016. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  18. ^ Reporters, Telegraph (17 May 2016). "SNP MPs Stewart Hosie and Angus MacNeil split from wives over alleged affairs with same woman". The Telegraph – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
Scottish Parliament New parliamentScotland Act 1998 Member of the Scottish Parliament for North East Scotland 1999–2003 Succeeded byMarlyn Glen Preceded byJohn McAllion Member of the Scottish Parliament for Dundee East 2003–2011) Constituency abolished New constituency Member of the Scottish Parliament for Dundee City East 2011–present Incumbent Political offices Preceded byLewis Macdonaldas Deputy Minister for Health and Community Care Minister for Public Health and Sport 2007–2011 Succeeded byMichael Matheson New office Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport 2011–2014 Succeeded byJamie Hepburnas Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health New office Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners' Rights 2014 Succeeded byAlex Neil Preceded byAlex Neil Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport 2014–2018 Succeeded byJeane Freeman Preceded byAileen Campbell Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government 2021–present Incumbent