Sturgeon in the running for a fourth title as The Herald Scottish Politician of the Year Awards shortlist is unveiled


NICOLA Sturgeon could win an unprecedented fourth award as The Herald’s Scottish Politician of the Year after she was again nominated for the prestigious prize.

The First Minister, who led her party to a landslide victory in Scotland in the General Election, has been shortlisted for the main title in this year’s awards alongside Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson and Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie.

It means she could add to titles in 2008, 2012 and last year if she takes the prize when winners are announced at a ceremony at Edinburgh’s Prestonfield House Hotel on November 19.

Ms Davidson impressed the judges, chaired by Herald editor Magnus Llewellin for a series of strong performances at Holyrood and in election debates.

Mr Rennie, who is also nominated in the Donald Dewar Debater of the Year category, has been recognised for the leading role he had played holding the government to account over a string of controversies that have engulfed Police Scotland.

His Lib Dem colleague Alison McInnes has been nominated in the Committee MSP of the Year category for the same reason, along with Christine Grahame, the independently-minded convener of the Justice Committee and Michael McMahon, who invited benefits claimants to give evidence in person to his Welfare Reform Committee.

Iain Gray and Patrick Harvie are both up for Donald Dewar Debater of the Year.

The Best Scot at Westminster award will be contested between Britain’s youngest MP, SNP newcomer Mhairi Black, and two veterans: Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell and the SNP’s leader in the Commons Angus Robertson.

Ms Davidson has a second nomination in the E-Politician of the Year category, where she is nominated with fellow Twitter addicts Murdo Fraser and Humza Yousaf, all of whom have used social media to amuse, as well as inform, campaign and engage the public.

In the search for the Community MSP of the Year, Neil Findlay impressed the judges for his campaign to change airline flight paths over West Lothian; Joan McAlpine for fighting plans for shale gas extraction in Dumfriesshire; and Michael Russell for his efforts to secure a community buyout for Castle Toward, a listed mansion and grounds in Argyll.

The judges faced some of their hardest decisions over the Public Campaign or Campaigner of the Year award this year.

The British Deaf Association and the Scottish Council on Deafness have been shortlisted for a campaign stretching back 15 years which finally resulted in legislation promoting the use of British Sign Language.

Also nominated is motor neurone disease campaigner Gordon Aikman, who secured a promise of new legislation to ensure people with degenerative conditions have access to computer voice technology allowing them to speak.

Finally, the Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society have been shortlisted for their successful campaign to retain standard plots of 250 square metres.

Three council leaders, Andrew Burns, Mark Macmillan and David Parker, are in the running to be named Scottish Local Politician of the Year.

Sponsors of The Herald Scottish Politician of the Year Awards congratulated all those who have been shortlisted.

Keith Anderson, chief executive of ScottishPower Renewables, said: “Scottish Power Renewables would like to congratulate those who made it to the final shortlist. “The judges have selected a group who have made a significant contribution and particularly those in the E-Politician of the Year category, which we are proud to support.”

Stephen Park Brown, MD of NVT Group, said: “We are very proud to be associated with The Herald Scottish Politician of the Year Awards and, considering the standing of this year’s nominees and their contribution to Scottish politics, we believe this year’s awards will be the most important yet.

“May we pass on our congratulations to everyone shortlisted and we look forward to finding out the winners on November 19th. Good luck.”

Malcolm Buchanan, managing director for the Royal Bank of Scotland’s corporate and commercial banking division in Scotland, said:

“The Royal Bank of Scotland is delighted to continue our relationship with the Herald Politics and Business Award.

“It is now more vital than ever that politicians and businesses work together to support the country’s economic growth and we are pleased to celebrate the efforts of those who have worked hard in this area.

“All of the nominees shortlisted have made an impact across the Scottish and UK business sectors, giving voice and support to organisations large and small. Congratulations to each of them.”

A spokesman for The Improvement Service said: “The IS is delighted to be sponsoring the Local Politician of the Year Award for the sixth successive year.

“We warmly congratulate the deserving nominees, who have all consistently demonstrated effective and engaging local leadership in the most challenging of times.”

David Horne, managing director of Virgin Trains, said: “This is our second year as sponsor of the Scottish Politician awards and they continue to play an important role in recognising key players in some of the important political debates happening in Scotland and Westminster.”

Commenting on the nominees for Campaigner of the Year, Patrick McGuire, from Thompsons Solicitors, said: “As a nation we have a long and proud record of fighting for justice whether its community groups on local issues or large nationwide campaigns.

“I’m proud that Thompsons, which has been involved in many campaigns over the years, can give our backing to these amazing people and organisations who give their time and effort standing up for what they know is the right thing to do.

“We all owe them a great deal of thanks and would do well to follow their example more often.”

The Herald Scottish Politician of the Year Awards 2015: the shortlist:

Best Scot at Westminster – supported by Virgin Trains

Mhairi Black MP

David Mundell MP

Angus Robertson MP

Donald Dewar Debater of the Year – supported by NVT Group

Iain Gray MSP

Patrick Harvie MSP

Willie Rennie MSP

Committee MSP of the Year

Christine Grahame MSP

Alison McInnes MSP

Michael McMahon MSP

Community MSP of the Year

Neil Findlay MSP

Joan McAlpine MSP

Mike Russell MSP

Politics in Business Award – supported by RBS

Gavin Brown MSP

Murdo Fraser MSP

John Swinney MSP

E – Politician of the Year – supported by Scottish Power Renewables

Ruth Davidson MSP

Murdo Fraser MSP

Humza Yousaf MSP

Public Campaign or Campaigner of the Year – supported by Thompsons Solicitors

British Deaf Association/Scottish Council on Deafness

Gordon Aikman

Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society

Scottish Local Politician of the Year – supported by The Improvement Service

Andrew Burns – Leader, Edinburgh City Council

Mark Macmillan – Leader, Renfrewshire Council

David Parker – Leader, Scottish Borders Council

The Herald Scottish Politician of the Year

Ruth Davidson MSP

Willie Rennie MSP

Nicola Sturgeon MSP