Nicola Sturgeon is set to resign as Scotland’s first minister in a move that stunned her own party.
The SNP leader — who has led her pro-independence party and Scotland’s devolved government since 2014 — is expected to announce she is standing down at an 11 a.m. press conference from her official residence of Bute House, Edinburgh.
The news was first reported by the BBC and Press Association and has been separately confirmed by POLITICO. Sturgeon — a vocal opponent of Brexit who has argued that Britain’s departure from the bloc warrants another Scottish independence referendum — has been embroiled in a row with the British government in recent weeks, after it blocked a bill aimed at reforming Scotland’s gender self-declaration laws.
She has also been under fire over the housing of a convicted rapist, who changed their gender, in a women’s prison. That decision was later reversed.
An SNP official said the news had “completely taken aback” staff at the party’s headquarters.
“This is just a completely wild situation,” they said. “Literally nobody at HQ, even at senior levels — apart from [Sturgeon’s husband and SNP Chief Executive] Peter Murrell, I presume – was briefed.”
“We literally know nothing until the presser comes and Nicola outlines [it] herself. This is just inferno.”
Sturgeon succeeded Alex Salmond as first minister in 2014 after the SNP failed in its first referendum bid to take Scotland out of the United Kingdom.
The pair later fell out spectacularly as Salmond faced sexual assault charges, of which he was cleared after a two-week trial.
This developing story is being updated. Emilio Casalicchio contributed reporting.