THE Herald today restarts the Scottish Politician of the Year Awards, recognising those who provide vital leadership through these exceptional times.

This year’s ceremony will be the first since the Covid pandemic forced its suspension.

Its return after three years comes as the country faces unprecedented challenges and highlights the need for strong, imaginative leadership from our politicians in tackling them.

Besides the cost-of-living crisis, the lasting effect of the pandemic on the NHS, and the ripples from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the past year has seen a series of dramatic developments at Holyrood and Westminster.

Nicola Sturgeon named a date for a new independence vote and initiated a Supreme Court case on whether Holyrood can hold it.

Scottish Labour under Anas Sarwar overtook the Tories at the local elections in May.

And Douglas Ross whiplashed back and forth over the future of Boris Johnson, before the Prime Minister finally ran out of road.

Started in 1999, the awards are the highlight of the Scottish political calendar and are sponsored by ScottishPower, Openreach, and Aiir Networks.

A judging panel chaired by Callum Baird, Editor-in-Chief of Newsquest Scotland & Northern Ireland, owner of the Herald, will draw up a shortlist in October.

The winners of the Herald Scottish Politician of the Year Awards 2022 will be announced at Prestonfield House in Edinburgh on November 24.

The Herald also welcomes proposals for Public Campaigner of the Year, last won by British Heart Foundation Scotland for ensuring CPR is taught in all secondary schools. Nominations close on September 30.

ScottishPower chief executive Keith Anderson said: “After not being able to meet face to face for some time, it’s great to have the awards back in the political calendar. ScottishPower is delighted to be once again playing a role in recognising the achievements of all those nominated.”

Robert Thorburn, Openreach partnership director for Scotland, said: “We have big ambitions in Scotland. We’re continuing to build ultrafast full fibre broadband across the nation, including in the hardest-to-reach rural areas, and we’re transitioning our diesel van fleet to electric while working to deliver an ever-better customer experience.

“These big ambitions come with big challenges, which we work closely with partners from across the political spectrum to navigate. Expanding and exploiting digital connectivity are just some of the tough and complex issues that Scottish politicians must tackle, and The Herald’s Awards are a great platform to celebrate everything they do, across the board, to help the nation.”

Aiir Networks Group Managing Director Hamish Fraser said: “Aiir Networks is delighted to be able to welcome The Herald’s Scottish Politician of the Year Awards back as the most exciting event on the Scottish political calendar.

“This will be the third time that Aiir Networks has sponsored the Donald Dewar Debater of the Year award category and we are very much looking forward to hearing the nominees and debating who will be the worthiest winner of this coveted award. “We want to wish The Herald every success for the 2022 awards although, from experience, we already know that it will truly be an evening to remember.”

To make suggestions for the Public Campaigner Award, contact lyndsay.wilson@heraldandtimes.co.uk or call 0141-302 7407.

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