London Daily

Focus on the big picture.

John Swinney backs Humza Yousaf in SNP leadership race

John Swinney backs Humza Yousaf in SNP leadership race

Deputy First Minister John Swinney has backed Humza Yousaf in the race to replace Nicola Sturgeon as SNP leader and first minister.

Mr Swinney is the most high-profile figure in the party to endorse the Scottish health secretary.

But Kate Forbes' campaign manager said the announcement suggested the SNP hierarchy were "absolutely panicking".

Mr Yousaf is standing against the finance secretary and ex-community safety minister Ash Regan.

SNP members will start voting for the new leader on Monday, with the winner to be announced on 27 March.

Mr Swinney's endorsement comes after the party's Westminster leader Stephen Flynn confirmed he would be supporting Mr Yousaf.

Nicola Sturgeon has previously said she would not be publicly backing any of the three candidates.

Last month John Swinney questioned whether it would be appropriate for someone with Ms Forbes' views to be SNP leader.

He spoke out after the finance secretary, who is a member of the Free Church of Scotland, made clear she would not have voted for gay marriage if she had been an MSP in 2014.

Kate Forbes, Humza Yousaf and Ash Regan will take part in a BBC Scotland debate on Tuesday


In a statement released on Saturday night he said: "Humza is best placed to lead our party because he will strengthen the SNP as a force for progressive change in Scottish politics.

"Humza will govern effectively by using the partnership that we enjoy with the Scottish Green Party - guaranteeing us a pro-independence majority in the Scottish parliament.

"And crucially, Humza will widen our support in attracting new supporters to Scottish Independence."

Mr Swinney, who will stand down as deputy first minister later this month, said Mr Yousaf was the candidate who would "complete our journey to independence" and praised his track record in power.

The Perthshire North MSP added: "Humza is an experienced minister who's done all the tough stuff that you have to do day in day out within government.

"He's put his heart and soul into all the work he's done within the party to make the SNP an inclusive political party."

Mr Yousaf said he was honoured to have the backing of a "true giant of the SNP and independence movement".

He added: "Like Nicola, our party owes so much of our success to John's stewardship.

"John's backing is a massive boost to my progressive grassroots campaign to stand up for Scottish democracy, protect and advance rights, unite our Yes movement and secure independence for Scotland."

Following Mr Swinney's announcement Ms Forbes' campaign manager questioned the timing of the move.

Falkirk East MSP Michelle Thomson said: "When the current deputy first minister decides to personally intervene in the leadership contest at such a late stage, you get the sense that senior figures in the party have seen the polls and are absolutely panicking.

"Given how close we are to the vote opening, many party members will look upon this 11th hour intervention rather cynically. They don't need to be told by party HQ what to think or how to vote."

Ms Thomson said it appeared the SNP hierarchy would prefer "an establishment transfer of power" rather than allowing its members the freedom to make "a healthy democratic choice".

BBC Scotland has asked Ms Regan's campaign for a response to Mr Swinney's statement.

Kate Forbes speaking at an SNP hustings event at Strathclyde University on Saturday


Veteran SNP MSPs Annabelle Ewing and Christine Grahame are among those to have announced they will be voting for Ms Forbes.

One of the party's best known MPs, Joanna Cherry KC, has given her support to Ms Regan.

The three leadership candidates will take part in an hour-long Debate Night programme from Edinburgh at 20:00 on Tuesday 14 March on BBC One Scotland.

Newsletter

Related Articles

London Daily
0:00
0:00
Close
UK Labour Government to Regulate Powerful AI Models
Record Heat Temperatures in Ukraine Amid Power Crisis
UK Government Plans to Remove 92 Hereditary Peers from House of Lords
King Charles III Delivers Labour Government's First King's Speech
Officials Remove 'Disastrous' Label from Liz Truss's Mini-Budget
Keir Starmer Outlines Ambitious Plans for Government
Japan to Allocate $3.3 Billion to Ukraine Using Frozen Russian Assets
EU Parliament Condemns Hungarian PM's Russia Visit
FBI Struggles to Find Motive Behind Trump Shooting Incident
Kremlin Criticizes EU Rejection of Orban’s Ukraine Peace Proposal
Google and Microsoft Now Consume More Power Than Several Large Countries
Secret Service Criticized for Lack of Sniper Protection During Trump Shooting
US Senator Robert Menendez Found Guilty of Corruption
Deep Concerns about Political Violence as US Approaches Election Day
Trump Media Shares Surge Following Re-Election Bid Boost
The gunman who attempted to assassinate Donald Trump Saturday is 20-year-old Thomas Matthew Crooks
Banksy's Influence on Port Talbot's Street Art Scene
Bodies of Two Men Found in Suitcases on Bristol Bridge, 24-Year-Old Arrested
Kate Middleton to Attend Wimbledon Men's Final Amid Cancer Recovery
Russia's Electronic Warfare Neutralizes Western Weapons in Ukraine
Trump Challenges Biden to Debate and Golf Match
Macron Accuses Israeli Minister of Election Interference
US Senator Highlights Weaknesses in Western Military Industry During Ukraine Conflict
George Clooney Urges Biden to Withdraw from Presidential Race
Political Shift in the UK: A Detailed Analysis of Labour's Victory and Future Prospects
Viktor Orbán's Peace Mission: A Diplomatic Controversy in the EU
India Advocates Peace and Prosperity: PM Modi's Speech in Austria
New UK PM Keir Starmer Reaffirms Strong Support for Ukraine at NATO Summit
Spain PM Pedro Sanchez Denounces Double Standards on Gaza at NATO Summit
UK Police Arrest Suspect in Crossbow Attack After Three Women Killed
Sunita Williams Safe on ISS, to Address Earth on July 10
Biden Affirms Commitment To Presidential Race
France Faces Political Turmoil and Airport Strikes Ahead of Paris Olympics 2024
Putin Hosts PM Modi for a Private Meeting
TSMC: The Taiwanese Chip Giant Valued Over $1 Trillion
Boeing Pleads Guilty Over 737 MAX Crashes
2024 Predicted to Be World's Hottest Year
Iran's President-Elect Masoud Pezeshkian Reiterates Support for Hezbollah
White House Denies Biden Being Treated for Parkinson's Disease
Biden to Meet New UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer
Biden Insists on Continuing Presidential Race Amid Criticism
UK Defence Minister Pledges Enhanced Support to Ukraine
French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal Resigns After Election Setback
Macron Faces New Political Challenges Despite Election Relief
France's Far-Right Falls Short in Parliamentary Elections
Key Figures in France's Left-Wing New Popular Front Bloc
England Reaches Euro 2024 Semifinals After Penalty Shootout Win
Rishi Sunak Apologizes After Historic Tory Defeat
Voter Discontent in Recent UK and French Elections
Trump was recorded attacking Biden: "I kicked the old pile of shit"
×