Scotland’s pro-independence first minister Humza Yousaf resigns after one year, rather than face no-confidence vote

Scotland’s pro-independence first minister Humza Yousaf resigns after one year, rather than face no-confidence vote

Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf resigned as leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) on Monday and said he had ordered a contest be held to select a replacement.

“I’ve concluded that repairing our relationship across the political divide can only be done with someone else at the helm,” Yousaf said at a press conference in Edinburgh.

“I have therefore informed the SNP’s national secretary of my intention to stand down as party leader and ask that she commences a leadership contest for my replacement as soon as possible.”

He resigns little over a year after he replaced Nicola Sturgeon as first minister and SNP leader.

He said he would continue as first minister until a successor has been elected.

Yousaf quit after a week of chaos triggered by his scrapping of a coalition agreement with Scotland’s Greens.

Humza Yousaf wins Scottish leadership race

He then failed to secure enough support to survive votes of no confidence against him expected later this week.

The SNP’s fortunes have faltered over a funding scandal and the resignation of Sturgeon as party leader last year. There has also been infighting over how progressive its pitch should be as it seeks to woo back voters.

Caught between defending the progressive record of the coalition government and some nationalists’ demands to jettison gender recognition reforms and refocus on the economy, Yousaf was unable to strike a balance that would ensure his survival.

The SNP is losing popular support after 17 years of heading the Scottish government. Earlier this month, polling firm YouGov said the Labour Party had overtaken the SNP in voting intentions for a Westminster election for the first time in a decade.

Humza Yousaf will resign as SNP leader and Scotland’s First Minister, avoiding having to face a no-confidence vote in his leadership. Photo: Pool via Reuters

Labour’s resurgence in Scotland adds to the challenge facing British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Party, which is lagging far behind Labour in UK-wide opinion polls.

The Scottish parliament now has 28 days to choose a new first minister before an election is forced, with former SNP leader John Swinney and Yousaf’s former leadership rival Kate Forbes seen as possible successors.

If the SNP is unable to find a new leader to command support in parliament, a Scottish election will be held.

Additional reporting by Associated Press



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