The new FM’s election is a historic moment - Lorna Slater

Lorna Slater is the minister for green skills, circular economy and biodiversityLorna Slater is the minister for green skills, circular economy and biodiversity
Lorna Slater is the minister for green skills, circular economy and biodiversity
Humza Yousaf’s election is a landmark moment for Scotland.

As he stood at the podium at Murrayfield Stadium for his acceptance speech, we were all reminded that his victory, like his predecessors’, is a hugely historic one.

His election follows a positive leadership campaign and an unbending commitment to the same progressive values that have shaped the Bute House Agreement between our parties.

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Throughout the campaign, he emphasised his support for climate action, social justice, and has made clear that he will continue to challenge Westminster’s unjustified attacks on Scotland’s democracy: whether it is Downing Street’s determination to resist a fair and democratic referendum on Scottish independence or its attack on Gender Recognition Reform and the rights of our LGBTQ+ community.

There is no doubt that he will be replacing one of the most significant politicians of the devolution era. Nicola Sturgeon’s time in office was an inspiration to women and girls across our country and beyond, just as Humza Yousaf’s victory is a landmark moment for immigrants and people from minority ethnic communities across Scotland.

The last few weeks have been an important journey for the new First Minister and his family, but also for Scotland.

One of the most moving moments of his acceptance speech came when he took a moment to thank his grandparents and to tell their story. He commended them for the bravery and reflected on the amazement they would feel if they could see him now, as he prepares to take the highest office in Scotland.

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My Scottish Green colleagues and I are looking forward to working with him to build on the achievements of the last 18 months.

Whether it is green policies such as free bus travel for everyone under 22, the circular economy strategy that I am leading on or the vital work of my Scottish Green colleague Patrick Harvie in expanding tenants' rights, we are proud of the impact that we have had and excited about what the future holds.

That feeling goes right across our Party, with our Party Council voting for our MSP group to unanimously back Humza’s election as First Minister as well as us continuing our positive, constructive and collaborative role in government.

This is how our politics should be done, through consensus, collaboration and striving to be the best we can. That is how we have approached our role in government and, although it has only been a short period of time, the people of Scotland and our environment are already better off for it.

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I will be proud to join my Scottish Green colleagues in voting for Humza Yousaf to be Scotland’s new First Minister. I will also be very proud as the last remaining women leader of a party at Holyrood, to work with him over the months and years ahead in building a fairer, greener and more equal Scotland for everyone.

Lorna Slater is Co-leader of the Scottish Greens

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