Painful pause as Gove asked for Sturgeons biggest achievement

Michael Gove struggles to name Nicola Sturgeon’s biggest achievement

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Michael Gove was today stumped when he was asked for Nicola Sturgeon’s biggest achievement. The Communities Secretary was put on the spot during an interview on the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme.

Mr Gove said “um” and frowned when asked by the presenter what the outgoing Scottish First Minister’s biggest achievement was.

After an awkward pause, the Cabinet minister eventually said: “I don’t want to say anything bad or negative about Nicola Sturgeon because I think she is a dedicated public servant and she’s devoted her life to public service.

“And as the First Minister of Scotland I worked with her during the pandemic.

“I know that she was committed to coming to the right conclusions in the interests of the people of Scotland.

“I fundamentally disagree with her on many things but I wish her well.”

It comes as the SNP leader’s replacement is set to be announced tomorrow after an acrimonious contest between hopefuls Humza Yousaf, Kate Forbes and Ash Regan.

The leadership race has sent the SNP’s poll ratings plunging.

There have been bitter clashes between the three candidates during live TV debates.

It has also seen the resignation of Peter Murrell – who had served as SNP chief executive for almost 25 years and is married to Ms Sturgeon – after a row over the party’s membership dropping by 30,000.

Ms Sturgeon has insisted the SNP is not in a mess and is going through “some growing pains” since she announced her shock decision to step down after more than eight years as party leader.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack has urged her replacement not to pick fights with the UK Government, calling for whoever takes over to “turn from confrontation to collaboration”.

Mr Jack said the election of a new SNP leader, who will then go on to become Scotland’s sixth First Minister, was a chance to “reset” the relationship with politicians in Westminster.

He challenged whoever follows on from Ms Sturgeon to “put the people of Scotland first” by seeking to work more collaboratively with the UK Government.

Mr Jack said he would have “fundamental political differences” with whoever that is, but stressed that should not stop the two governments working together.

The Tory MP added that the Scottish Government “stands at a crossroads, with a new first minister being selected in the coming days”.

He said: “Whoever wins the leadership election tomorrow faces a fundamental choice which will define their time as First Minister.

“It is fair to say that they and I will have fundamental political differences.

“But this should not, must not, be an obstacle to us working together in the interests of Scottish families and businesses.”

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