Scotland politics

Nicola Sturgeon named the Herald's Scottish politician of year

Nicola Sturgeon at SNP conference
Image caption Ms Sturgeon won the annual award for the second time

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been named The Herald's Scottish Politician of the Year.

Ms Sturgeon was given the honour in recognition of her work on minimum pricing for alcohol and the introduction of same-sex marriage, as well as her key role in the 2014 independence referendum.

It was the second time she had won the top award.

For the first time, all three shortlisted candidates were female.

The SNP deputy leader saw off competition from Labour leader Johann Lamont, who had been nominated for the way she led her party's fight back from last year's Scottish election defeat.

And Holyrood Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick had also been in the running for her reforms to Holyrood.

Collecting the award, Ms Sturgeon said: "On a previous occasion when I won an award at this event I forgot to thank my husband.

"I want to start tonight by thanking Peter, because there have been times over the past few months where it has felt very much to me as if I spent more time with Michael Moore than I did with my husband."

She added: "I'm not sure that there are many other countries in the world where they would have a shortlist for Politician of the Year that was all women.

"We might have a long way to go to achieve true gender equality, but I think Scotland should be proud that we are leading the way."

The judges praised Ms Sturgeon's handling of the health portfolio for five years, culminating in Holyrood approving legislation to bring in a 50p per unit minimum price for alcohol.

She also announced the Scottish government planned to change the law to legalise same-sex marriage, declaring this was the "right thing to do" despite the vocal opposition of some religious leaders.

More recently a cabinet reshuffle has seen her become secretary for investment, infrastructure and cities, with specific responsibility for the constitution.

While Ms Lamont failed to win Politician of the Year, she won the award for political impact after she hit out at Scotland's "something for nothing" culture and questioned the affordability of policies such as concessionary travel, free personal care for the elderly and free prescriptions for all.

Strong challenge

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore, who co-signed the Edinburgh Agreement ensuring the referendum will give Scots a straight choice between independence and remaining in the UK, was named Best Scot at Westminster.

SNP backbencher Dennis Robertson collected the Donald Dewar Debater of the Year award for making an emotional speech to Holyrood about his daughter's death from anorexia.

And the SNP's Humza Yousaf was named One to Watch after joining the government at the age of 26 when he became external affairs and international development minister.

The Politics in Business award was given for the first time to recognise politicians who have worked with the business community.

This went to SNP MP Stewart Hosie and Labour MP Jim McGovern for their joint work to support Dundee's computer games industry.

Gordon Matheson, the leader of Glasgow City Council, won Local Politician of the Year in the wake of this year's local authority election results, which saw Labour win overall control of the authority despite a strong challenge from the Nationalists.

Argyll youngster Martha Payne, whose school meals blog became a world-wide sensation, was campaigner of the year after her efforts helped raise more than £120,000 for the charity Mary's Meals.

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