The Herald today launches the Scottish Politician of the Year Awards 2018, recognising those who played a key role in one of the stormiest years of devolution.

Brexit continued to dominate the political landscape, imperilling Theresa May’s leadership, and generating ever greater tensions between the UK and Scottish governments.

The strain led to a series of constitutional firsts.

MSPs passed legislation despite the Presiding Officer warning it was invalid, prompting a Supreme Court challenge, and Holyrood rejected the UK’s main Brexit bill as a “power-grab”, but Westminster imposed it regardless, prompting a fierce debate on the value of the Sewel Convention.

With Ms Sturgeon staying silent on a second independence referendum, a frustrated Yes movement took it on itself to organise a series of huge marches demanding a new vote.

Now in their 20th year, the awards are the highlight of the political calendar and are supported by NVT Group, Openreach, Royal Bank of Scotland, ScottishPower and Virgin Trains.

A judging panel chaired by The Herald’s editor-in-chief Donald Martin will draw up a shortlist in October, with the winners honoured at Prestonfield House, Edinburgh, on November 22.

The Herald also welcomes nominations for Public Campaigner of the Year, won last year by Amanda Kopel whose Frank’s Law campaign has led to an extension of care for dementia sufferers such as her late husband. Nominations close on September 13.

The best debaters, community champions, promising new MSPs, and the most savvy politicians on social media will also be recognised.

Hamish Fraser, Managing anaging Directorirector of NVT Group, said: “As a long-time supporter of The Herald’s Scottish Politician of the Year, we are delighted to sponsor the Donald Dewar Debater of the Year category for what will be the seventh consecutive year in 2018. This has been a standout year for our business and, of course, for Scottish politics. “Everyone at NVT Group is once again looking forward to hearing the nominees and finding out who might be the next winner of this important award.”

Clive Selley, Openreach Chief Executive Officer, said: “As an organisation with roots in every community and constituency in Scotland, we’re very proud to support The Herald’s awards. Our network is the platform for Scotland’s blossoming digital economy and we share the will and ambition of politicians from across the political spectrum to deliver great connectivity throughout the nation. “

“We look forward to recognising the achievements of all those nominated during one of the biggest highlights of the political calendar.”

Malcolm Buchanan, Chair of Scotland Board, Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “We are delighted to continue our relationship with The Herald politics and business awards. The Royal Bank of Scotland has been serving the people of Scotland since 1727, and today supports 1.75m personal customers and 120,000 business customers across the country. The Royal Bank of Scotland is focused on working with the UK and Scottish Governments on a range of initiatives and are committed to supporting our country’s businesses and communities.”

Keith Anderson, Chief Executive of ScottishPower, said: “ScottishPower is delighted to continue our support of the Scottish Politician of the Year Awards. “The event is one of the highlights of the Scottish political calendar and provides a great opportunity to recognise the achievements of all those nominated.”

Phil Whittingham, Managing Director of Virgin Trains, said: “We’re delighted to support the Best Scot at Westminster category for the fifth consecutive year and help

For more information on nominating Public Campaigner of the Year and attending the awards, contact Lyndsay Wilson, Events Director on 0141 302 7407 or email