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Humza Yousaf speaking at this afternoon's press conference Screengrab/Sky News

Humza Yousaf resigns as Scottish First Minister and leader of SNP

It comes as he faces two votes of no confidence.


HUMZA YOUSAF HAS announced he is stepping down as leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) and First Minister of Scotland.

Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, Yousaf confirmed he intends to step down as the leader of the the Scottish National Party (SNP). He said he will continue as First Minister until is successor is selected. 

Yousaf said he made the decision in order to “repair our relationship across the political divide” in Scotland.

“After spending the weekend reflecting on what is best for my party, for the government and for the country I lead, I have concluded that repairing our relationship across the political divide can only be done with someone else at the helm,” he said. 

“I have therefore informed the SNP’s national secretary of my intention to stand down as party leader and ask that she commences a leadership contest for my replacement as soon as possible.”

Yousaf’s announcement comes as he faces two votes of no confidence in the coming week – one from the Scottish Conservatives, and another from Scottish Labour, which has tabled one for the Scottish Government as a whole.

A source told BBC News last night that “the clock has been ticking ever downwards” for the First Minister. 

Yousaf had been facing the no confience votes after he announced last week the powersharing deal – the Bute House Agreement – between the SNP and the Greens has ended at his behest and his party will now rule as a minority administration.

The First Minister said the the agreement had “run its course”.

He told journalists the decision meant a “new beginning” for his party in Government.

The Scottish Greens were outraged by the decision to end the agreement, describing it as an act of “political cowardice”.


There has been much speculation in the last couple of days as to the future of Yousaf as First Minister. 

Outlets including BBC News and The Times had reported today that sources close to Yousaf had indicated he could give up his role but a final decision had not yet been taken.

SNP MSP Michelle Thomson told BBC Radio Scotland this morning that she has heard “rumours” he was considering stepping down.

Thomson went on to describe the First Minister as an “honourable man” who is “well liked” within the SNP Holyrood group.

No confidence votes

Yousaf had previously said he would not resign and that he intends to win the no confidence votes.

The First Minister requires the support of at least one member of the opposition at Holyrood.

Alex Salmond’s Alba Party had reportedly distanced itself from making such a deal with Yousaf, leaving the First Minister’s fate in the hands of the Scottish Greens.

The leader of the Scottish Greens had expressed regret over the breakdown in the powersharing deal, but described the First Minister’s position as nevertheless untenable.

“Everybody understands how deeply regrettable and unnecessary this whole situation was,” he said, adding: “I think it is really important that we return to stability.”

On BBC Radio Scotland today, Harvie later said Yousaf should stand down, but insisted he bears no “personal ill will” against him.

Harvie, who was fired as a government minister when the powersharing agreement Bute House Agreement was scrapped, said: “I do want to say there is a human impact to all of this, a human element to all of this. I don’t bear Humza Yousaf personal ill will or malice in any way at all and I take no pleasure at all, none of us in the Greens do, in turbulence and chaos over the last week or two.

“But it is clear that Humza Yousaf, in the decision that he made last week, has broken trust with the Scottish Greens, cannot command a majority in Parliament, and we stand ready to work with someone who can.

“Because the SNP are by far and away the largest party in Parliament, they’re just short of a majority, they are capable of providing stable minority Government, they have a responsibility to do so.

“I think opposition parties have a responsibility to play their part. It’s been done before, it can be done again, but Humza Yousaf, I’m really sorry to say, is no longer in a position to do that, because it has to depend on trust.”

Includes reporting by Press Association

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