Scotland’s pro-independence SNP names John Swinney as leader, to become first minister

Scottish National Party (SNP) veteran John Swinney was confirmed the party’s new leader on Monday and is set to succeed Humza Yousaf as the country’s first minister after he emerged as the sole contender in the leadership race for a new premier.

“I am deeply honoured to have been elected as Leader of @theSNP. I will give all that I have to serve my Party and my Country,” Swinney, who joined the party as a teenager in 1979, said on social media.

He is expected to give a speech later in the day.

Yousaf, who had become the first Muslim to lead a democratic western European nation in March 2023, resigned last week after his decision to end a coalition with the Green Party backfired, triggering a contest to pick his replacement.

John Swinney delivers a speech to announce his intentions of running for the SNP leadership, as well as his candidacy for the Scotland’s First Minister position. Photo: AFP

Shortly after midday on Monday, the deadline for other contenders to join the race, the SNP confirmed Swinney as the new leader, ending uncertainty around a possible weeks-long process that would have ensued if there were more candidates.

Former finance minister Kate Forbes, who narrowly lost a leadership contest to Yousaf when Nicola Sturgeon resigned as leader, was expected to challenge Swinney for the premiership, but ruled herself out on Thursday. Forbes had said she and Swinney shared a “common purpose”.

Over the weekend, there were also reports that party activist Graeme McCormick was hoping to challenge Swinney for the leadership, but Sky News reported late on Sunday that he had decided not to proceed with his nomination, citing a statement from him



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