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Two of the Scottish government's longest serving ministers are to leave their posts as Nicola Sturgeon begins a reshuffle of her cabinet team.

Fiona Hyslop has stepped down as the country's economy, fair work and culture secretary, and Fergus Ewing as the rural economy secretary.

More changes to the ministerial team are expected to be announced shortly.

Several senior posts were left empty when ministers retired from parliament ahead of the election.

They included Health Secretary Jeane Freeman, Constitution Secretary Mike Russell, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham and Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell.

Paul Wheelhouse - who had been energy minister - lost his seat in the election.

It was announced on Tuesday that Scotland's deputy first minister, John Swinney, is to be given a new role with responsibility for co-ordinating the country's recovery from the Covid pandemic.

The move means Mr Swinney will no longer be the country's education secretary - with that role also now needing to be filled.

Nicola Sturgeon picking new cabinet team
John Swinney to be minister for Covid recovery
SNP politicians have been arriving at Bute House in Edinburgh, the first's minister's official residence, ahead of Ms Sturgeon unveiling her new top team.

They have included Finance Secretary Kate Forbes and Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf, who are both expected to remain in the cabinet but could be moved to different roles.

The SNP's former Westminster leader, Angus Robertson, is also expected to be handed a ministerial role after being elected as an MSP.

john swinney and nicola sturgeon outside Bute House
IMAGE COPYRIGHTREUTERS
image captionMr Swinney is taking up a new role with responsibility for co-ordinating the country's recovery from the Covid pandemic
The SNP has pledged to create a new cabinet secretary role for "net zero, energy and transport", as well as specific junior ministerial posts focused on youth employment and the "just transition" to an environmentally sustainable economy.

But the first minister is expected to announce a slightly smaller cabinet than the current 12 members.

Ms Sturgeon will head to the Court of Session later on Wednesday, where she will be formally sworn in as first minister.

She won a vote of MSPs on Tuesday to ensure she remains in the role following the SNP's victory in the election on 6 May.

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