SNP minister recovering in intensive care after undergoing 'major surgery'

Richard Lochhead
Richard Lochhead -Credit:Getty Images

An SNP minister is recovering in intensive care after undergoing “major surgery”.

Business minister Richard Lochhead, 54, was initially treated at Dr Gray’s Hospital in his constituency last week after “a few days of feeling ill”.

The Moray MSP was then transferred to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary at the weekend for the operation. The nature of Lochhead’s illness remains unclear.

A statement from his office said: “Over the weekend Richard was transferred to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary where he had major surgery and is now recovering in ICU. Despite some initial complications, he is in a stable condition and is making good progress.

“It is hard to find the words to express our deep gratitude to the NHS staff involved in Richard’s care. He and his family have been blown away by the compassion, dedication and skill of clinicians both in Elgin and Aberdeen.

“We will never be able to thank them enough for all they’ve done – and continue to do – for him.”

The family have been “touched” by messages they have received, the statement added.

First Minister John Swinney – a longtime colleague of Lochhead – said his “love, thoughts, encouragement and support are with Richard, Fiona and their family”.

Lochhead's constituency office is still dealing with casework on his behalf.

Lochhead has been an MSP since Holyrood was founded in 1999.

He was initially a regional MSP for the North East before he won the Moray by-election in 2006. He has held his seat in every election since.

He served as Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs under Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon. He was in the role for nine years between 2007 and 2016.

After two years out of government he joined as a junior education minister before taking up the role of employment minister in 2021. He became business minister when Humza Yousaf took over and was reappointed yesterday.

The 54-year-old from Paisley worked as office manager for Alex Salmond between 1994 and 1998.

He stood for Westminster in 1997 and unsuccessfully stood in the Holyrood constituency of Aberdeen Central in 1999 and 2003.

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