Bishop & Sewell

Reflecting on Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation as leader of the SNP it was disheartening how many national newspapers chose to kick her whilst she was down, rather than praising her for eight years of public service, writes David Little, a partner in our Corporate and Commercial Law team.

In her resignation speech, she said she wasn’t expecting violins, but decried the lack of privacy politics allows, the “physical and mental impact” of her job and its “brutal political culture”.

The Telegraph, responded with, Out of depth Sturgeon has spooked Scotland’s economy.

Writing in Reaction Iain Martin described her speech as, “incoherent, risible, delusional”.

Sturgeon said: “I feel more each day just now that the fixed opinions people increasingly have about me – as I say, some fair, others little more than caricature – are becoming a barrier to reasoned debate.”

Find Out Now poll picked up by Politico found that 16% of Scottish voters are now less likely to vote SNP, more telling though is that this figure is 11% for 2019 SNP voters. Asked if the party could survive without her, one MP said: “I doubt it.”

This week asked a nationally representative sample of 2,039 GB adults: To what extent do you sympathise with politicians who resign because of the stresses of the job?

Sympathise: 29% (8% “Strongly”)
Don’t sympathise: 29% (18% “Strongly”)
Neither / Don’t know / Prefer not to say: 41%
62% of SNP voters sympathetic Vs. 10% Unsympathetic

What equips someone to be the ‘right stuff’ for the Parliamentary cut and thrust? One might imagine that since it makes laws, Parliament is full of lawyers. There are surprisingly few, based on this Parliamentary record of the occupations of MPs from 1979 to 2015. Six per cent were barristers and eight per cent were solicitors. Thirty one per cent had business backgrounds.

What the analysis doesn’t suggest is that MPs need to have the hides of a rhinoceros in order to survive, let alone govern with purpose and elan. Should that be really necessary?

Whatever one’s politics, surely we should thank Nicola Sturgeon, and Jacinda Ardern – New Zealand’s Prime Minister who also recently cited she was ‘burned-out’ and standing down – for standing up, and being counted. It takes courage.

David Little is a Partner at Bishop & Sewell in our expert Corporate & Commercial team. If you would like to contact him, please quote Ref CB382 on either 020 7631 4141 or email

 The above is accurate as at 17 February 2023. The information above may be subject to change during these ever-changing times. The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Category: Blog | Date: 17th Feb 2023

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