Humza Yousaf replaces Nicola Sturgeon as SNP leader

SNP leadership election result is announced

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Humza Yousaf was today announced as Nicola Sturgeon’s replacement following a vicious SNP leadership race. The current Scottish Health Secretary defeated rival candidates Kate Forbes and Ash Regan in a ballot of party members.

Mr Yousaf was named the winner this afternoon at the BT Murrayfield stadium in Edinburgh after SNP members had until noon to cast their votes.

He will be declared Scotland’s sixth first minister after a vote in the Scottish Parliament tomorrow.

The SNP’s national secretary Lorna Finn announced that turnout in the party’s leadership election was 70 percent.

For first preferences in the STV system, Mr Yousaf took 24,336 (48 percent), Ms Forbes took 20,559 (40 percent) and Ms Regan took 5,599 (11 percent) of the vote.

When second preferences were distributed in the second stage, Mr Yousaf took 26,032 (52 percent) and Ms Forbes took 23,890 (48 percent).

It comes after Ms Sturgeon in February announced her shock resignation after more than eight years in the job.

It has been a rocky leadership race for the party with the hopefuls repeatedly tearing into each other during live TV debates and hustings events.

The contest has also seen the dramatic resignation of Ms Sturgeon’s husband Peter Murrell as chief executive following controversy over the transparency of SNP membership numbers.

Even the SNP’s intermin chief executive Mike Russell has said the party is in “a tremendous mess”.

The chaos has sent the party’s poll ratings plunging to the delight of Labour and the Conservatives who hope to gain seats in Scotland at the next general election.

Reacting to Mr Yousaf being unveiled as the SNP’s new leader, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “I congratulate Humza Yousaf on his election, and on becoming the first leader of his party from an ethnic minority.

“We encourage him to govern for all of Scotland and abandon his divisive plans to push independence relentlessly as the self-styled ‘First Activist’.

“As the main opposition party, we will hold Humza Yousaf to account when he lets the Scottish people down.

“Unfortunately, we have serious concerns about his ability. For the good of Scotland, we hope he does not lurch from failure to failure as he did when he was Nicola Sturgeon’s Health Secretary, Justice Secretary and Transport Minister.

“Humza Yousaf’s election as leader shows that the SNP Government are moving further and further away from the real priorities of the Scottish people to obsess over independence.

“The Scottish Conservatives will continue to focus on the issues that matter to people across the country, such as strengthening our economy, supporting our struggling NHS and helping families with the global cost-of-living crisis.”

Scotland’s new First Minister comes into the post with an in-tray that is already bulging.

Top of their to-do list will be reuniting a party which has been rocked by the leadership race.

One of the initial tasks for the new Scottish First Minister will be to appoint their cabinet – and with Deputy First Minister John Swinney stepping down alongside Ms Sturgeon, big changes are inevitable.

The controversial issue of gender reform, and whether the Scottish Government should mount a legal challenge to the UK Government’s decision to block legislation passed by Holyrood, will also have to be considered with priority.

There is also the question of Scottish independence and a second referendum.

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