First Minister Humza Yousaf plans to stand down

Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf has announced that he will stand down as soon as a successor has been elected.

Speaking at a news conference at the First Minister’s official residence in Bute House, Edinburgh, Yousaf said: “After spending the weekend reflecting on what is best for the government and country I lead, I have concluded that repairing our relationships across the political divide can only be done with someone else at the helm.

“I intend to stand down as party leader.

“I will continue as First Minister until my successor has been elected, particularly as the Parliament will be debating some incredibly important legislation in the coming days and weeks.

“I cannot tell you what an honour it is being the First Minister of the country I love, the country I am raising my family in, and the only country I will ever call home. I have had the honour of serving in Government for almost 12 years in a variety of roles.

“Although I am sad that my time as First Minister is ending, I am so grateful and blessed for having the opportunity so few are afforded – to lead my country, and who could ask for a better country to lead than Scotland.”


Scottish Chambers of Commerce CEO Liz Cameron: “As we look ahead, the business community will seek assurances from whomever the next First Minister is to prioritise economic growth.

“We need to be confident that the Scottish Government is pulling in the same direction to support business, grow the economy and create jobs.

“The First Minister was right to mention Scotland’s place on the world stage and Scotland’s enviable international reputation.

“The next First Minister must work with business to turbo-charge our efforts to attract global investment and send out a clear message to the world that Scotland is open for business.”

Ash Regan MSP, ALBA Party Holyrood Leader: “The irony will not be lost on many that the event that has cost Humza Yousaf his job was removing the Greens from Government — something most people in Scotland agreed with.

“Alba Party were willing to work in the best interests of Scotland to put independence back at the heart of Government, protect the rights of women and girls, and to get the Government back onto a competent footing.

“The Greens were willing to vote with the Tories and bizarrely some forces in Humza Yousaf’s own party would rather see him resign than deal with a party who really want to advance independence.

“However, a new SNP leader and a new First Minister will not change parliamentary arithmetic. I continue to stand ready to work in the best interests of Scotland and to advance the cause of Scottish independence.”

Tracy Black, CBI Devolved Nations Ambassador: “While Humza Yousaf leaves office with our best wishes, firms will want to see the vacuum filled quickly to prevent further instability impacting business confidence.

“Whoever comes in as First Minister must put addressing Scotland’s faltering economy first. Without a competitive and resilient economy that prioritises investment, the ambition to deliver sustainable economic growth will fall short of the mark.”

STUC General Secretary Roz Foyer: “We thank the First Minister for his commitment to our movement and for working closely with the STUC to help deliver a fairer, more equal nation.

“He deserves credit for his collaborative approach with trade unions, seeking to find common ground, not antagonise and ignore the demands of working people during the cost-of-living crisis.

“While the First Minister did take some progressive steps on income tax, his premiership ran into difficulty with the council tax freeze and it is clear that his successor must take giant strides on wealth and property taxation if we are not to be stuck in a recurring cycle of decline across our public services, our economy and our politics.

“The First Minister can also hold his head high on his unwavering support for the people of Palestine.

“He has been a consistent voice of calm, measured reason, despite anguishing personal circumstances, in calling for peace and an immediate ceasefire in the area.

“It’s clear that the Scottish Parliament can be a force for good. But it must begin to take the bold action needed to redistribute income, wealth and power across our society if it is rebuild the trust of the people of Scotland.”

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar: “The SNP are a divided party which is out of ideas and incapable of rising to the challenges Scotland faces …

“They cannot impose another unelected first minister on Scotland in a backroom deal; the people of Scotland should decide who leads our country.

“There must be an election – it’s time for change and Scottish Labour is ready to deliver it.”