Humza Yousaf announced as new Scottish National Party leader, replacing Nicola Sturgeon

Humza Yousaf announced as new Scottish National Party leader, replacing Nicola Sturgeon

Humza Yousaf has won the SNP leadership race and will now likely replace Nicola Sturgeon as the First Minister of Scotland following a vote in Holyrood on Tuesday.

Yousaf – who became the youngest MSP when he was elected in 2011 aged 26 – has spent weeks battling to become the next first minister alongside his leadership rivals Ash Regan and Kate Forbes.

50,494 valid votes were cast, for a turnout of 70%.

As no one candidate received 50% of the first preference vote, Regan – who received the lowest number – was eliminated, leaving just Forbes and Yousaf.

Out of the two remaining candidates, Forbes received 47.9% of the vote, and Humza Yousaf received 52.1%.

Following the announcement, Yousaf said: “It is hard for me to find the words to describe just how honoured I am to be entrusted by our membership of the SNP to be the party’s next leader and to be on the cusp of being our country’s next first minister.”

He paid tribute to his rivals, adding: “It’s felt we’ve seen each other more than our respective families.

“You both have put in an incredible shift and I know that collectively we will work hard as part of Team SNP.”

PA Media

The leadership race came after Sturgeon announced in February that she would resign after more than eight years in the job once her successor had been chosen.

SNP members had until noon on Monday to cast their ballots, and the result was announced at the BT Murrayfield stadium in Edinburgh.

It has not been a smooth leadership contest for the party, with acrimonious clashes between candidates and the dramatic resignation of chief executive Peter Murrell following controversy over the transparency of SNP membership numbers.

Yousaf, 37, and Forbes, 32, particularly clashed over their record in government and their social views.

Prior to the result, polls put the candidates almost neck and neck, with Yousaf favourite among SNP voters – according to an Ipsos Scotland survey of 1,023 Scots – with a net favourability of 11%, compared with 6% for Forbes.

Regan, widely considered an outsider for the job, had a net favourability of minus 24% among the general public, and minus 7% with SNP voters.


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