Politics can be full of surprises – and it is fair to say that Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation as First Minister was not widely predicted.

Nicola has been an outstanding First Minister who has led Scotland with her characteristic wit and gravitas.

During her time at the helm, she has helped steer Scotland through the biggest challenges the country faced since the devolution era began and has delivered policies that benefited everyone.

Her daily briefings during the Covid pandemic demonstrated her immense work ethic and phenomenal communication skills.

When other leaders blustered and avoided, Nicola stood up every day at the podium to keep the public informed and to reinforce the vital public health messages that we all needed to hear.

During COP26 in Glasgow, she displayed her formidable leadership abilities by committing Scotland to become the first country in the world to offer loss and damage funding to poorer countries affected by climate change.

A year and a half after COP26, many other countries have followed the lead of the SNP Scottish Government.

Perhaps one of Nicola’s greatest legacies will be the game-changing Scottish Child Payment which is now being distributed to low-income households with children.

At £25 per week per eligible child, the payment is undoubtedly helping to tackle child poverty.

A recent study from the Institute of Fiscal Studies showed that low-income families in Scotland with children are now £2,000 better off than their counterparts in other UK nations.

With Nicola at the helm, the SNP has made clear and important progress in delivering a fairer country.

Talent is abundant within the SNP ranks and I look forward to the next chapter, with a new leader building on Nicola’s legacy and delivering a fairer, independent country where everyone in all our communities can thrive.

In my last Barrhead News column, I discussed McGill’s decision to axe the number 52 Barrhead circular bus route.

Local community activist Rena McGuire launched a public petition opposing the withdrawal, which gained over 1,000 signatures.

The 52 route is vital for many Barrhead residents to access the likes of shops and GP practices and for children to get to school.

My concern is that the withdrawal of the route will impact the elderly and socially isolated the hardest.

At Westminster, I raised the planned withdrawal of the route and highlighted the opposition to the decision, bringing local concerns to the floor of the House of Commons on more than one occasion.

I organised a constructive meeting with McGill’s and other elected representatives to discuss the planned withdrawal.

I very much welcome the decision by McGill’s to offer a stay of execution for the route, pushing back the planned withdrawal date from January 21 to April 1.

The best way to secure the future of the 52 is to use the service, so I encourage everyone in Barrhead to make use of this bus when possible.

In the coming weeks, I will continue my dialogue with McGill’s and others to try to secure a continuation of this vital service.

My team and I are working hard to help constituents with any issues they may have. If you think I may be able to help you, please call me on 0141 648 8822 or send an email to Kirsten.oswald.mp@parliament.uk.