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The rise and fall of Nicola Sturgeon – Audio Long Reads

The Scottish National Party reached its electoral zenith under the First Minister, who quit abruptly this month. Where did it all go wrong?

By Chris Deerin

The New Statesman’s Scotland editor Chris Deerin has been reporting on the SNP since 1996, when as a young political correspondent he sparred with its then leader Alex Salmond. The party was then an outlier, with only three Scottish MPs to Labour’s 49. Just over ten years later, in 2007, Salmond became first minister and appointed a shy, ambitious protégé as his deputy: Nicola Sturgeon.

In this definitive account, Deerin traces Sturgeon’s political journey – to the top of her party, through the 2014 independence referendum, a bitter fallout with Salmond, and ultimately her resignation. Was her commitment to new gender recognition legislation, and to a second independence referendum, a miscalculation? How will she be remembered in Edinburgh, Westminster and beyond? 

Written and read by Chris Deerin.

This article was originally published as the New Statesman’s 24 February 2023 magazine cover story. You can read the text version here.

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