John Swinney is commended for supporting the Scottish business sector

Sir Tom, who credited the veteran politician with his support of the Hunter Foundation in launching Scotland’s EDGE business competition in 2013, said that in a world of politics that is an “ever-changing feast”, the Deputy First Minister is “someone who can get to the heart of a problem very quickly”.

“He was our main contact with the Scottish Government for the Hunter Foundation and there are things that would not have happened without him,” Sir Tom observed. “I saw him as an honest politician, which is perhaps a bit rare these days.

“His experience and, quite frankly, his big heart will be missed by the Scottish Government.”

In Lord Haughey’s view, Mr Swinney was “someone who, if he said he would do something, would do it. If the answer was no, he would come back and tell you,” explaining that his departure was a “big, bad blow to the SNP.”

“While we disagreed on where politics collides, John Swinney has been a part of everything for the last 15 to 20 years and leaves a huge void.”

Discussing the current SNP leadership race, both Sir Tom and Lord Haughey agreed that Kate Forbes, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, understood the importance of business to the economy.

“She knows we need a strong private sector to pay public sector taxes,” said Sir Tom, adding that he looked forward to hearing the views of the other two candidates, Humza Yousaf and Ash Regan hear. John Swinney is commended for supporting the Scottish business sector

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