Victory for ‘continuity candidate’ Humza Yousaf in SNP battle
Humza Yousaf said he was the “happiest man alive” today when he was unveiled as the new SNP leader after a bitter five-week struggle that threatened to tear the party apart.
The Health Secretary, seen as the ‘continuity’ candidate, emerged victorious and will now replace Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister tomorrow.
Speaking to the Earl in Edinburgh, Mr Yousaf pledged to rule for “all Scotland” – and also movingly reassured his daughters that there is still “no more important job in my life than being your father”.
Mr Yousaf narrowly defeated the challenge from Kate Forbes, who, despite brutal attacks on his balance sheet in government, has faced backlash for her devout Christian views.
It had been speculated that Ms Forbes would benefit from the second preferences of supporters of the other contender, Ash Regan – but it wasn’t enough to reverse his advantage.
He almost jumped the 50 percent hurdle in the first round, but managed to do it by 52 percent to 48 percent in the runoff. Only 50,000 of the SNP’s 72,000 members voted.
Mr Yousaf – who will become the youngest First Minister and the first from an ethnic minority background – is now taking on a daunting task to restore the SNP’s fortunes after the fight exposed deep divisions over issues such as gender identity rules and gay marriage.
Labor has gained ground north of the border and prospects for an independence referendum are fading.
In her most recent TV interview beforehand, Nicola Sturgeon admitted she was “a little bit sad” and “emotional.”
But while appearing in ITV’s Lorraine, she said she’s still confident she made the “right decision” to step down – and is looking forward to life after politics.
Humza Yousaf said he was the “happiest man alive” today when he was unveiled as the new SNP leader after a bitter five-week struggle
Humza Yousaf (center), Kate Forbes (right) and Ash Regan (left) competed to become the next SNP leader
In her last TV interview today before stepping down, Nicola Sturgeon said she was “a little bit sad” but still confident she made the right decision
Ms Sturgeon shocked the political world in February when she announced she was stepping down after more than eight years in office.
She said today she was looking forward to some ‘free time’, although stressed she will remain an MSP at least until the next Holyrood election.
Ms Sturgeon refused to say who she supports for leadership, insisting whoever wins will have her “100 per cent” support.
When asked if she would consider returning if the SNP’s collapse continues, she laughed and replied, “No, I’m not planning a comeback.”
The fate of the three candidates was revealed this afternoon at Edinburgh’s BT Murrayfield Stadium.
A vote will follow tomorrow in Holyrood to confirm the SNP leader as First Minister.
Who is the new SNP boss Humza Yousaf?
Humza Yousaf became Scotland’s first Muslim cabinet minister in 2018 when he was appointed Minister for Justice.
The 37-year-old father has been MSP for Glasgow Pollok since 2016, having been elected to the Scottish Parliament as an additional Member of Parliament for the Glasgow region in 2011 aged just 26.
He has served as the Scottish Government’s Health Secretary and has been widely seen as the “continuity candidate” – although Nicola Sturgeon has declined to endorse anyone.
Although he has long been touted as a possible replacement for Ms Sturgeon as First Minister, there have been concerns that Mr Yousaf’s chances may have been impacted by the current health crisis in Scotland.
The long wait times for ambulances and emergency care have come under particular pressure.
Leadership rival Kate Forbes was particularly scathing about his record in various government letters during televised debates.
Mr. Yousaf has a daughter and a stepchild with his second wife Nadia El-Nakla.
The leadership contest has seen brutal clashes between candidates and the dramatic resignation of board chairman Peter Murrell – Ms Sturgeon’s husband – following controversy over the transparency of SNP membership numbers.
Mr Yousaf, 37, and Ms Forbes, 32, had ripped into each other’s records of government and social views during televised debates.
Ms Forbes, a devout Christian, got off to a rough start in her campaign after admitting she would not have voted for gay marriage and condemning the SNP’s failed attempt to relax gender identity rules.
The outcome was far from certain, as there was almost no poll among the 70,000 SNP members that would determine the winner.
But broader polls had placed the candidates almost evenly, with Mr Yousaf favored among SNP voters. Ipsos Scotland research found a net likeability of 11 per cent, compared to 6 per cent for Ms Forbes.
The finance minister was favored by the general public with a net likeability rating of minus 8 percent, compared to minus 20 percent for the health minister.
Labor has welcomed the SNP turmoil, with experts suggesting the party could be poised to win a significant number of seats in Scotland in the next general election.
But Tory ministers have made little secret of their relief at the departure of Ms Sturgeon, who has dominated politics north of the border for almost a decade.
When Michael Gove was asked in an interview yesterday what Ms Sturgeon’s “greatest achievement” was, there was eight seconds of silence.
The Leveling Up secretary appeared completely at a loss after being asked to pay tribute to the outgoing Scottish First Minister while appearing with Laura Kuenssberg on the BBC’s program on Sunday.
Mr Gove stared at the ground and frowned as the presenter patiently awaited his verdict on the SNP boss.
The Tory minister finally nailed it: “I don’t want to say anything bad or… what can I say, negative about Nicola Sturgeon.
“Because I think she’s a dedicated civil servant and has dedicated her life to public service.
“And as First Minister of Scotland, I have worked with her throughout the pandemic. I know she is committed to reaching the right conclusions in the interests of the people of Scotland.
“I fundamentally disagree with her on a lot of things, but I wish her all the best.”
Mr Gove appeared completely at a loss after being asked to pay tribute to Ms Sturgeon yesterday
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk
https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/celebrity/victory-for-continuity-candidate-humza-yousaf-in-snp-battle/ Victory for ‘continuity candidate’ Humza Yousaf in SNP battle