Richard Lochhead is the new Scottish FE minister

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the appointment of Richard Lochhead as minister for further education

Richard Lochead, who served as the cabinet secretary for rural affairs, food and environment from 2007 to 2016, is set to return to the SNP government as the new minister for further education, higher education and science

A former Scottish environment secretary looks set to be the new FE minister at Holyrood after he was appointed by the first minister.

Richard Lochead, who served as the cabinet secretary for rural affairs, food and environment from 2007 to 2016, is set to return to the SNP government as the new minister for further education, higher education and science.

The post has been vacant since former FE lecturer Gillian Martin resigned from the post in June less than a day after she was appointed after derogatory comments she made about transgender people and disabled people were unearthed in a 2007 blog post.

Mr Lochhead said: “Two years ago, I stepped back from government. That was the right decision for my family at the time. Now, I am honoured and privileged to be asked to rejoin the Scottish government ministerial team.

'Significant experience'

He added: “The further education, higher education and science role is an exciting opportunity not just to help shape one of the underpinning economic strengths of Scotland but also deliver on our ambitions for a fairer country. We owe that to our young people and our adult learners. I look forward to getting to grips with this challenging and important agenda.”

Mr Lochhead will be able to undertake some ministerial duties immediately and will be put forward for approval by the Scottish Parliament next week and the Queen in September.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Richard brings his significant experience to the role, having previously served in government for nine years and I’m pleased he has agreed to become the new Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science.

“He has been a hugely successful campaigning MSP in parliament over the last two years, particularly over the issue of delivery charges, and I know he will bring that energy and drive into government."

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