Nominations open in SNP leadership contest

Nominations open in SNP leadership contest

First Minister Humza Yousaf announced on Monday he would stand down.

First Minister Humza Yousaf announced on Monday he would stand down as he faced two confidence votes in Holyrood but said he would stay on to allow a successor to be chosen.

The SNP’s national secretary announced nominations opened on Monday at 11.59pm and would close next Monday.

In the hours following the First Minister’s announcement, senior members of the party turned to Mr Swinney to offer stability.

Speaking to journalists in London, the former deputy first minister said he was “actively considering” putting himself forward.

Pete Wishart, the long-serving SNP MP, has already described Mr Swinney as being the “runaway favourite to take over the leadership of the party”.

Posting on X, formerly known as Twitter, Mr Wishart said: “John Swinney would be an excellent unifier for our country and our party. We should all get behind him if he chooses to run.”

Meanwhile, Scottish Education Secretary Jenny Gilruth, who had been suggested as a possible successor to Mr Yousaf, said: “John Swinney is the best choice to be Scotland’s First Minister & @theSNP leader.

“I will be strongly supporting him if, as I hope, he chooses to run.”

Reports also suggest Health Secretary Neil Gray – a key ally of Mr Yousaf and someone considered a potential leader – was backing Mr Swinney.

Whoever wins the contest will need to be able to win enough votes in Holyrood to be elected First Minister, with the SNP needing just two votes for an overall majority.

The most likely suitors for the SNP would be the Greens – given the pro-independence bent of both parties and the reticence of other parties with the required number of MSPs to work with the party.

The Greens announced last week they would not support the First Minister in a confidence vote in his leadership this week after he scrapped the Bute House Agreement, eventually leading to his decision to step down.

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