HUMZA Yousaf has unveiled his new Cabinet – with a number of new faces around the top table.

Shona Robison, the new Deputy First Minister, will take on the finance portfolio, including responsibility for the Scottish Budget.

Michael Matheson becomes Health Secretary, with a beefed-up brief with specific responsibility for "NHS recovery".

Jenny Gilruth leaves her role as transport minister to become Education Secretary.

Màiri McAllan has been promoted to be Net Zero and Just Transition Secretary.

Neil Gray joins Cabinet for the first time as the Secretary for Wellbeing Economy, Fair Work and Energy.

The National: First Minister Humza Yousaf and his new cabinet on the steps of Bute House First Minister Humza Yousaf and his new cabinet on the steps of Bute House (Image: PA)

Mairi Gougeon stays in post as Rural Affairs Secretary after Kate Forbes turned down the job.

Angus Robertson will stay on as Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, External Affairs and Culture

Shirley-Anne Somerville replaces Robison as Social Justice Secretary.

Angela Constance returns to Cabinet as the new Justice Secretary, replacing Keith Brown.

The average age of the Cabinet –under Nicola Sturgeon at 48.6 – is down to 44.1 under Yousaf. It is thought to be the first female-majority Cabinet. 

All those appointed backed Yousaf on the campaign trail with the exception of Angela Constance who did not publicly come out for any contender. 

The new first minister hailed the diversity of his new Cabinet, which features more women than men and a number of young MSPs, but said appointments were made on "merit".  

Labour said that the First Minister had rewarded "loyalty" and blasted the new appointees as "B-rate politicians", while the Tories said the new "NHS recovery" brief for the Health Secretary was an indictment of Yousaf's time in the role. 

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Yousaf said: "The Cabinet team I have u eiled reflects the priorities that we will pursue as a government – including tackling child poverty, improving public services and building a fairer, greener economy.

“Ahead of my appointment as First Minister, I have committed myself to a radical, ambitious and progressive policy agenda for Scotland – and I know that this team is the right one to deliver it.

“I want to thank those ministers departing government for their leadership over the last few years, through many storms not of our making – the economic damage caused by Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic, austerity and the cost of living crisis.

"Those ministers – led so ably by Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney - leave a strong legacy for the new team to build on.

“I have made clear my belief Scotland’s government should look as much as possible like the people we represent. As well as being the first ever First Minister from a minority ethnic background, I am pleased that a record number of women have agreed to serve, as well as a significant blend of younger and more experienced members. That said, every single appointment has been made on merit.

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“Every single person in this government is clear that it is for the people of Scotland to determine their constitutional future – no one else – and we will work to ensure that they are given that right.

"As we make the case for Scottish independence, we will continue to govern well and demonstrate to the people of Scotland the benefits of decisions about their lives being taken here in Scotland.

“Subject to Parliament’s approval, the new ministerial team is ready to get to work delivering for the people of Scotland.”

The opposition reacts

Craig Hoy, chair of the Scottish Conservatives, called the newly minted ministers "proven flops and lackeys". 

He said: "The likes of Shona Robison, Michael Matheson, Angela Constance and Jenny Gilruth have been found sorely wanting in previous ministerial roles, yet all have been ‘rewarded’ with promotion by the new First Minister.

“In a rare display of self-awareness, Humza Yousaf appears to have recognised his own abject failure as health secretary by adding ‘NHS Recovery’ to that brief.

“This cabinet of proven flops and lackeys not only excludes Kate Forbes – who came within a whisker of beating Humza Yousaf in the vitriolic SNP leadership race – but anyone who backed her.

“Humza Yousaf clearly has no intention of ending the SNP’s civil war – just getting his revenge and declaring victory in it. 

“Instead of offering an olive branch to the huge chunk of the party that didn’t back him, he would rather pander to the extremist Scottish Greens by giving a ‘wellbeing economy’ minister cabinet status. 

“We all fear for the wellbeing of the economy with the Greens in government.”

Jackie Baillie, deputy leader of Scottish Labour, said: "The First Minister promised to bring the country together, but he can’t even bring his own party together.

“This dismal cabinet cements the SNP’s new status as a deeply divided party led by B-rate politicians.

“Loyalty is being rewarded over talent – but both are in short supply in the SNP.

“At the heart of this continuity government are some of the most incompetent politicians of the last decade, set to deliver more of the same failure.

“While the SNP are mired in chaos, Scottish Labour is united in our vision to deliver the change Scotland desperately needs.”

Scottish LibDems leader Alex Cole-Hamilton noted the Social Justice job title no longer referred to responsibility for housing and local government and claimed they had been downgraded. 

He said: "I wish nothing but the best for any ministers who are prepared to actually focus on the people's priorities. But all of these figures have been part of the ministerial team that has fixated on division at the price of spiralling NHS waiting lists, disruption in our schools and missed climate emergency targets.

“The downgrading of housing and local government doesn’t bode well for sectors already in crisis on the SNP’s watch."