The Scottish Politician Of The Year Awards 2023: Full list of nominees

The Herald Scottish Politician Of The Year Awards in association with ScottishPower are an annual highlight of the country’s political calendar.

Since they were established in 1999, the event has brought people together to promote high standards of political performance and foster constructive relationships between the worlds of politics and business.

The evening is enjoyed by elected officials, key decision-makers, commentators and opinion formers.

Tonight’s awards will recognise the excellent work carried out at both Holyrood and Westminster and recognises politicians – at a national and local level – who have helped to shape events.

READ MORE: Scottish Politician of the Year Awards: All you need to know

Following long and detailed deliberations, a shortlist was drawn up in October by a judging panel chaired by Herald editor Catherine Salmond.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Prestonfield House in Edinburgh this evening hosted by the legendary Bernard Ponsonby, former political editor of STV.

Who is in the running?

First Minister Humza Yousaf is nominated for the prestigious main title after winning the SNP leadership and succeeding Nicola Sturgeon in Bute House.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar is nominated for keeping his party’s electoral fortunes on an upward trajectory, while Mr Sarwar’s deputy Jackie Baillie is nominated for being the behind-the-scenes force behind much of Scottish Labour’s success.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack is nominated for Best Scot at Westminster after testing the boundaries of the devolution settlement with a veto on Holyrood’s gender reforms and contesting the deposit return scheme.

Liberal Democrat chief whip Wendy Chamberlain is nominated for getting her Carer’s Leave Bill onto the statute books, entitling all carers to a week’s unpaid leave per year.

The SNP’s Westminster leader Stephen Flynn is the third nominee after a string of impressive performances against Rishi Sunak at PMQs.

The SNP’s Kenny Gibson is nominated in the Committee MSP of the Year category for his work leading Holyrood’s finance committee.

Tory Edward Mountain is nominated for chairing the Net Zero Committee which continues to unearth revelations about the CalMac ferries scandal, while former police officer Audrey Nicoll is shortlisted for her role convening the Criminal Justice Committee.

The SNP’s Fergus Ewing is nominated for the Donald Dewar Debater of the Year Award for a series of impassioned speeches that were often uncomfortable for his party.

Also shortlisted are Labour’s Michael Marra, Nicola Sturgeon, and Jamie Greene, who lost his place on the Tory frontbench after standing up for the Gender Recognition Reform Bill.

Mr Marra is nominated again in the One to Watch category alongside Tory MSP Russell Findlay and the SNP’s minister for drugs and alcohol policy Elena Whitham.

READ MORE: The Herald Scottish Politician of the Year host discusses 2023 – and reflects on statesmanship

Also earning a second nomination is Mr Ewing, who is shortlisted in the Politics in Business Award for speaking out against a series of policies he deemed economically damaging.

Former finance secretary Kate Forbes is shortlisted after foregrounding the economy in her SNP leadership bid, pushing Mr Yousaf towards his later “reset” for business.

While Mr Sarwar is nominated for his slick engagement with business as part of Labour’s revival.

The Community MSP of the Year category sees Mr Ewing and Mr Marra nominated for championing constituency issues in the Highlands and Tayside respectively.

Mr Ewing savaged his own party for inaction on the A9, while Mr Marra and Tory Liz Smith, who is also nominated, both demanded a public inquiry into an NHS Tayside scandal.

A new category for 2023, the ScottishPower Green Champion Award recognises an MSP for their work on environmental, sustainability and climate change issues.

Scottish LibDem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton is nominated for highlighting the problem of sewage dumping in rivers, lakes and coastlines.

Tory Maurice Golden rebelled against his party after Rishi Sunak watered down the UK Government’s Net Zero ambitions.

Patrick Harvie has used his ministerial position to promote heat pumps and phase out gas boilers. While his fellow Green Gillian Mackay has urged a ban on single-use vapes.

The toughest category to whittle down, because there were so many impressive contenders, was Campaign or Campaigner of the Year.

The judges shortlisted the campaign that secured a public inquiry into rogue Tayside surgeon Professor Sam Eljamel, which Liz Smith raised repeatedly at Holyrood; the campaign which secured a formal apology for the historic injustice suffered by thousands of woman who lost children through forced adoption; and the coalition which successfully headed off a fishing ban in highly protected marine areas.

For Local Politician of the Year, the nominees are Cosla’s SNP resources spokesperson Katie Hagmann, Borders Tory leader Euan Jadine, Falkirk Independent Ann Ritchie, and the Independent leader of Orkney Islands Council James Stockan.

For full coverage follow our live blog at For full results, pick up a copy of Friday’s edition of The Herald.



  • Wendy Chamberlain MP
  • Stephen Flynn MP
  • Rt Hon Alister Jack MP



  • Kenneth Gibson MSP
  • Edward Mountain MSP
  • Audrey Nicoll MSP


DONALD DEWAR DEBATER OF THE YEAR Supported by Aiir Networks 

  • Fergus Ewing MSP
  • Jamie Greene MSP
  • Michael Marra MSP
  • Nicola Sturgeon MSP


ONE TO WATCH Supported by ScottishPower 

  • Russell Findlay MSP
  • Michael Marra MSP
  • Elena Whitham MSP



  • Fergus Ewing MSP
  • Kate Forbes MSP
  • Anas Sarwar MSP



  • Fergus Ewing MSP
  • Michael Marra MSP
  • Liz Smith MSP



  • Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP
  • Maurice Golden MSP
  • Patrick Harvie MSP
  • Gillian Mackay MSP



  • Eljamel Inquiry / Liz Smith MSP
  • Forced Adoption Apology
  • Coalition against Highly Protected Marine Areas



  • Councillor Katie Hagmann
  • Councillor Euan Jardine
  • Councillor Ann Ritchie
  • Councillor James Stockan



To be announced on the night



  • Dame Jackie Baillie MSP
  • Anas Sarwar MSP
  • Humza Yousaf MSP