c994d02922b4f232d0dcff70499775a7084fa52a The first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, resigns.
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The first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, resigns.

Photographer: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

One of the most well-liked political figures in the UK during that time was Sturgeon, who has been the leader of the Scottish National Party since 2014. She unexpectedly announced her resignation due to a decline in support brought on by her failure to secure Scotland's long-awaited independence during her term, a court roadblock to doing so, and a debate over the gender bill.

The majority of Scotland and the rest of Europe were caught by surprise by the news, despite the knowledge that this region is currently going through a turbulent political moment. In her speech, she made reference to personal issues, such as exhaustion and her refusal to stay in power for any longer than was required, to announce her resignation. She also opted for her party to have "a new face" in charge who is capable of leading Scotland towards independence. 

This choice appears to be motivated by two big issues. The first is the UK Supreme Court's decision to reject the country's plans to hold another independence vote in 2023. Second, the contentious Scottish Gender Recognition Reform Act, which facilitated the processes for people who wanted to change their gender from the age of 16, has been opposed by members of their own party. It was promoted by the autonomous government of Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon assumed leadership of the SNP soon after the September 2014 Scottish independence referendum that had been agreed upon between Edinburgh and London was rejected. On that date, the Yes defeated the No by a margin of 55% to 45%. A serious setback to Scottish separatism's historical aspirations, which were motivated by the worry that, in the event of such a vote, some Scots would have to quit the European Union.

The problem is that the United Kingdom chose to leave the Union two years after another vote that produced Brexit, a decision that the majority of Scots oppose. This question gave the Scottish independence movement, which had strong European roots, wings and also guaranteed Nicola Sturgeon's success in the years that followed.

The SNP performed admirably in the Scottish Parliament under her leadership, eventually capturing 56 of the 59 seats and rising to become the third-strongest party in the UK, behind the Conservatives and Labour. During a period of low labour for Labour, Sturgeon emerged as a prominent opponent of the Conservatives in London.

She became the undisputed leader of the Scottish independence movement as a result of her rejection of Boris Johnson's administration and her ongoing challenges to London, which gradually increased the number of her supporters.

Sturgeon has been the focal point of ongoing divisiveness in Scottish politics over the past few months. The main controversy has centred on a law of the autonomous region that was intended to make it easier for people over 16 who want to change their gender that has not gone over particularly well with different sectors within their party or London, from where Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has tried to stop it on multiple occasions.

Isla Bryson, a trans prisoner who raped two women while she was still a male, and whom Sturgeon chose to send to a men's prison despite supporting her bill, have added to the debate surrounding this law. The previous Scottish leader has made an effort to avoid discussing her gender in recent weeks, but this approach has led to criticism of her leadership inside the SNP from figures like former leader Alex Salmond.

The nationalist movement is left with a significant gap after Sturgeon's march because no prominent individual is expected to step up to take Sturgeon's place. Additionally, there are a number of questions about the future, including whether the new candidate will be able to bring the many SNP factions together or if Scottish nationalism is just beginning to fracture.


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