SNP leadership: Edinburgh Nationalists back Humza Yousaf for First Minister ahead of Lothian SNP hustings
13 Edinburgh councillors and four parliamentarians endorse Health Secretary
Leading Edinburgh SNP politicians have given their backing to Health Secretary Humza Yousaf in his bid to become the next leader of the SNP and First Minister.
SNP council group leader Adam McVey and 12 fellow councillors have joined city MPs Deidre Brock and Tommy Sheppard and MSPs Ben Macpherson and Angus Robertson in endorsing Mr Yousaf in his contest against Finance Secretary Kate Forbes and former Community Safety Minister and Edinburgh Eastern MSP Ash Regan to replace Nicola Sturgeon.
Their pledges of support came as a poll by Channel 4 News showed Mr Yousaf and Ms Forbes on level pegging among SNP supporters but Ms Forbes with an eight-point lead among the wider public. Of those who voted SNP at the last Scottish Parliament elections, 33 per cent said Mr Yousaf would make the best First Minister, while 32 per cent opted for Ms Forbes. Among voters overall, 32 per cent chose Kate Forbes as the best First Minister, 24 per cent said Mr Yousaf and eight per cent Ash Regan. The survey found a clear pattern of support according to age, with younger people tending to favour Mr Yousaf and over-55s leaning towards Ms Forbes.
Speaking ahead of the Lothians SNP leadership hustings at Edinburgh’s Corn Exchange O2 Academy on Friday evening, Councillor McVey said: “There’s a huge amount of support for Humza across the Capital with people respecting his commitment to our party and his commitment to achieving independence. We need a leader who can unite the party and the independence movement under a progressive vision of what Scotland can be: a fairer, greener, more equal independent nation.
“It’s no surprise that so many people are backing Humza and I hope he secures the backing of party members across the city and beyond. As well as being the best candidate to lead the country, Humza has proven himself as a First Activist as well as a First Minister, spending hours campaigning in Edinburgh’s most recent by-election- the only candidate to do so.”
Ben Macpherson, MSP for Edinburgh Northern & Leith said: “For me, the standout candidate, the best candidate, the strongest candidate, is Humza Yousaf. Humza has served in four challenging ministerial roles, and he has done that with diligence, with dedication, with passion, with empathy, and with competence.”
Mr Yousaf welcomed the declarations of support from the Capital. He said: “I am delighted to have the backing of so many SNP colleagues in Edinburgh. As my campaign continues to build momentum, gaining support from across Scotland, I will continue to set out my vision for a progressive, socially just independent Scotland. Edinburgh is a magnificent city with a rich history. I look forward to engaging further with grassroots members in the Capital over the coming weeks."