Ashten Regan

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Person.png Ash Regan   Facebook TwitterRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
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Born8 March 1974
Alma materKeele University, Open University

Ashten Regan is a Scottish politician who was Minister for Community Safety from 2018 until 2022, when she stepped down in a protest over the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill. A member of the Scottish National Party (SNP), Ash Regan has been the Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for Edinburgh Eastern since 2016.[1]

On 18 February 2023, Ash Regan announced her candidacy for Leader of the SNP and First Minister of Scotland. The Telegraph reported:

SNP leadership candidate Ash Regan has said she would unilaterally declare Scottish Independence if the party wins a majority of votes and seats north of the border in an election without a further referendum on the issue.[2]

The result of the 2023 Scottish National Party leadership election was announced on 27 March 2023. Humza Yousaf was elected with 24,336 first preference votes (48.2%), and 26,032 votes (52.1%) after third-placed candidate Ash Regan's second preferences were redistributed.[3]

Campaign launch

Uniting the SNP leading to Independence

On 24 February 2023, Ash Regan launched her leadership campaign:

"Today, I officially launched my campaign to be the next leader of the Scottish National Party.
"With a clear vision for a brighter future for Scotland, I am ready to unite our party and lead us towards Independence, good governance, and a Scotland that is welcoming and open to all.
"Join me in this movement for change and #voteAshRegan. Together, we can build a better future for Scotland."[4]

Independence Convention

In her speech launching her campaign to be First Minister of Scotland, Ash Regan said:

"This morning I have sent a letter to all the independence groups notifying them of my intention to establish an Independence Convention on day 1 of my leadership.
"I will unite the movement and ready our country for Independence."

On 7 March 2023, Alex Salmond tweeted:

Happy to confirm that I was called today by @AshReganSNP on ALBA participation in an Independence Convention and we are delighted to say Yes.[5]
All parties were called today, including the @scottishgreens – message left, still awaiting a call back. Everyone else enthusiastic.[6]
Oooh, Ash Regan says she spoke to all the pro-indy parties leaders today - which includes Alex Salmond (who shares a remarkable number of her policies) and they are "excited" by her plans. Wonder if the Greens were involved? Did @patrickharvie and @lornaslater get calls?[7]


Ash Regan was born in Glasgow, where her mother and father owned a kilt shop on Sauchiehall Street. Regan attended primary school in Scotland before her family moved to England, growing up in Biggar, Cumbria and later Devon, where Regan attended a sixth form college.


Ash Regan attended Keele University in England from 1992 to 1995, gaining a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations. She was writer for Concourse magazine, a student newspaper of the Keele University Students' Union. She earned a diploma in public relations at the London School of Public Relations. In 2007, Regan studied Development Management at the Open University, gaining a Master of Science in 2012.

Scottish politics

Following the defeat of the Yes Scotland campaign in the referendum, Regan joined the Scottish National Party. In August 2015, she was selected as the SNP candidate for the Edinburgh Eastern constituency in the upcoming 2016 Scottish Parliament elections after the incumbent MSP Kenny MacAskill, had announced in June that he would not stand for re-election. She was elected, defeating the Leader of the Scottish Labour Party Kezia Dugdale.

In June 2016, Regan was appointed as Parliamentary Liaison Officer to the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs. She was a member of the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee and the Finance and Constitution Committee. In November 2017, she was moved from the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work committee to the Health and Sport Committee, where she was appointed deputy convener.

On 27 June 2018, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that she would perform a cabinet reshuffle of her second government. Sturgeon appointed Regan as the Minister for Community Safety, succeeding Annabelle Ewing.

In April 2019, Regan was one of 15 SNP politicians who signed a public letter calling on the Scottish government to delay reform to the Gender Recognition Act, which would make it easier for transgender people to legally change their gender. Later that month, an exchange was leaked between Regan and fellow SNP MSPs Gillian Martin and Ruth Maguire, where they expressed frustration at Nicola Sturgeon and claimed she was out of step with the SNP group.

In June 2019, it was reported that a number of her ex-employees received pay-offs worth thousands of pounds and some signed non-disclosure agreements.[8]

In the 2021 Scottish elections, Regan was re-elected, this time increasing her vote share by more than 8,000. Sturgeon reappointed Regan as Community Safety Minister in the third Sturgeon government.

On 27 October 2022 Ash Regan resigned, citing concerns over the Scottish Government's support for the Gender Recognition Reform Bill. Elena Whitham succeeded her as Minister for Community Safety in November, subject to parliamentary approval.

Personal life

Ash Regan has twin boys. She is divorced, and was previously known as Ash Denham.[9]


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:The beginning of the endblog post27 March 2023Stuart Campbell"I don't think there's any chance Humza Yousaf has won the SNP leadership election legitimately. But this morning I'm deeply worried that those still controlling the party have absolutely nothing left to lose by fixing it in his favour."
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