Yousaf elected SNP leader; beats Forbes 52% to 48%

Humza Yousaf

Humza Yousaf has won the fight to succeed Nicola Sturgeon as leader of the pro-independence Scottish National Party.

Yousaf won the leadership election with 52.1% of the votes in the second round, with Kate Forbes on 47.9%.

Yousaf, 37, is expected to be appointed as First Minister in the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh on Tuesday.

“Where there are divisions to heal we must do so and do so quickly because we have a job to do and as a party we are at our strongest when we are united,” said Yousaf.

“And what unites is our shared goal of delivering independence for our nation.”


Kate Forbes: “I’ve been proud to share a platform with both him and Ash over the last five weeks, and I know we will continue to work together, to make the lives of all of Scotland’s people better on the next stage of our journey to independence.

“Whatever the robust disagreements or frank exchanges of the last few weeks, I am confident we will unite behind Humza as our new party leader in the shared and common objective of independence.

“Uniformity is not unity – we can debate and disagree well, and then work together. To end poverty. To speak up for the marginalised. To create better jobs. To serve our people.

“I wish Humza well as he does just that.”

Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) CEO Marc Crothall said: “The STA would like to congratulate Humza Yousaf on his appointment as leader of the SNP; we look forward to having progressive and productive dialogue over the coming weeks to ensure that Scotland’s tourism sector is acknowledged and recognised as one of our country’s most significant export earners.

“In his letter issued last week to the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, Mr Yousaf committed to having an open-door policy with business communities and offered assurance that economic growth is a priority.

“It is not before time that the Scottish Government commits to putting the economy first to ensure fiscal sustainability.

“For tourism, this means investment in our tourism product to ensure we remain globally competitive as a tourist destination and for the new government to work with our tourism industry to shape and deliver policies which will produce economic benefits rather than harms.

“Mr Yousaf has said that building a prosperous and fairer Scotland is dependent on building a strong working relationship with business; we very much hope that he fully commits to working with Scotland’s tourism sector to implement positive solutions as a counter to the existing and proposed policies which are negatively impacting our sector.”

Scottish Chambers of Commerce CEO Liz Cameron: “We congratulate Humza Yousaf on his successful campaign to become the new First Minister.

“We look forward to working closely with him to restore business confidence and investment, enabling the Scottish economy to drive forward.

“As we outlined to all the leadership candidates in our open letter last week, there are serious challenges in every sector across the economy.

“The cost of doing business, labour shortages, lagging infrastructure, are all drags on growth and investment.

“We urge Humza Yousaf to take a pro-business approach with a new cabinet, to help build a build a globally competitive economy and to truly back Scottish business.”

Federation of Small Business (FSB) Scotland Policy Chair Andrew McRae: “Humza Yousaf’s in tray won’t be light on big issues that need urgent attention.  But, his top priority must be getting the economy back on its feet and that means, on day one, action on energy bills and regulation.

“On energy, the new First Minister could send a powerful signal by joining our calls for energy providers – especially the major Scottish-based companies – to roll out ‘blend and extend’ schemes, which would allow those businesses who signed up to contracts during the worst of the wholesale cost spikes last year to renegotiate their deals and spread the cost of fuel over a longer term, taking some of the sting out of their bills.

“On regulation, Humza Yousaf was not alone in his campaign in raising doubts about the viability of DRS, which itself is symptomatic of a broader culture of well-intentioned but poorly executed regulations.

“As incoming First Minister, he has a unique opportunity to stop and take stock of all of the new regulatory schemes coming down the road and their cumulative impact.

“By taking this pause, the First Minister can then lead an exercise in listening to the voices of those who will be charged with the day-to-day execution of these plans – small business owners.

“By meaningfully understanding some of the pitfalls around the planning and implementation of new schemes, they can be redesigned in a way that makes sure that they are far likelier to succeed.”

Food and Drink Federation Scotland CEO David Thomson said: “Scotland has a fantastic food and drink industry, supporting everyone’s daily lives and providing great jobs and careers across the country. Our success is central to driving sustainable economic growth for Scotland.

“However our food and drink producers continue to face significant pressure as they grapple with persistent cost rises.

“It’s vital that the new First Minister supports our industry and keeps costs down for Scotland’s households.

“We look forward to an early meeting with the First Minister to discuss how we can work together to ensure the future success of Scotland’s food and drink industry.”