Are Nicola Sturgeons’ Days as SNP Leader Numbered?

The first minister is expected to stand in front of the inquiry committee, which includes MSPs from the SNP, Tory, Labour, and Democratic parties, to answer claims of her part in a conspiracy to get rid of her predecessor from public life.

If Nicola Sturgeon had any concerns about the trustworthiness of the committee, she kept them to herself.


After it was revealed that five out of nine committee members had concluded that the first minister did, in fact, deceive parliament over what she knew about the allegations made against her former mentor, she unleashed an array of criticism and insults against her opponents. The inquiry committee had been taken over by the opposition politicians who had already decided Sturgeon had breached the ministerial code before she had had the chance to speak.

The Scottish people will be able to see the committee’s findings in the coming days. We can be sure that any further disapproval against Nicola Sturgeon will be met with fire and fury by the SNP.

Despite the backlash, whatever the committee concludes will not change much for Nicola Sturgeon. Opposition leaders who are calling for her resignation know fine and well that this will not happen. The SNP will eventually rally around its leader, the majority of its members offering their absolute loyalty. There is an election in May, the party members will say. Why don’t we let the Scottish people decide whether they still have faith in their first minister?

According to the polls, Nicola Sturgeon will win the May elections with a safe margin and continue to be the first minister of Scotland.

But Sturgeon’s strong standing does not mean that she is immune to scandals. Before the Alex Salmond case, almost every poll predicted not only a huge majority support for independence, but also that the SNP will win a sweeping victory in May’s elections. But public opinion is presently shifting. The independence movement no longer has the same majority, and a big majority also seems unattainable for the SNP and its leader.

The Scottish people’s sudden change of heart must not surprise us. The party is engaged in a devastating battle between two heavyweights, which is never alluring, and its strategy of trying to divert attention from its internal problems by promoting the idea of a new referendum has been in conflict with the public view that the constitutional argument can wait at the door until the non-negligible problem of getting through the deadly pandemic has been sorted.

Back in 2014, the SNP went into the referendum campaign challenge all hyped-up, pragmatic, and unified. The disciplined SNP which ran after many unionists to change their mind about the United Kingdom is just a past nostalgia.

Today’s SNP is a party full of cracks. Its members are angrily lashing out at critics both inside and outside the party. A badly discredited leader in charge of a party deeply divided on policy is not, history tells us, a good recipe for victory.

The fact is that the first minister’s reputation is badly damaged, so much so that some of her loyalists are seeing the beginning of the end of her days as SNP leader.

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