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Scottish politician Kate Forbes. Alamy Stock Photo

Poll shows controversial Scottish political candidate front runner for leadership among voters

Despite the findings of the Panelbase poll the leadership will be decided by SNP members rather than the electorate at large.

KATE FORBES, WHO received criticism over her conservative views on social issues, is the preferred candidate for the next SNP leader and first minister among Scottish voters, a poll has suggested.

Forbes, the Finance Secretary, Health Secretary Humza Yousaf and former minister Ash Regan are bidding to become the next SNP leader and first minister.

In the Panelbase poll for the Sunday Times, 23% said they would like Forbes to be the next SNP leader, with 15% saying so for Yousaf and 7% saying so for Regan.

Forbes, a member of the Free Church of Scotland, lost some of her high profile supporters in the leadership contest after she said she would not have voted for gay marriage.

Equal marriage was made legal in Scotland in 2014 with an overwhelming majority of 105 votes to 18. Forbes was not elected until 2016.

She has now said that having children outside of marriage “would be wrong according to my faith” and is something she would personally “seek to avoid”.

Asked her views on this, she told Sky News that having a child out of wedlock “would be wrong according to my faith”, but stressed it was a choice for people to make in a free society.

Forbes had also said she would not have voted for same-sex marriage if she had been in Holyrood when the legislation was passed, with these comments seeing her lose the support of some high-profile backers.

Despite the fall out she said she was committed to continuing with her campaign. 

The response of “don’t know” was on 49% in answer to this question.

A total of 1,026 voters in Scotland were polled between February 21 and 24.

composite-photo-of-left-to-right-ash-regan-humza-yousaf-and-kate-forbes-who-have-all-secured-sufficient-backing-to-put-their-names-on-the-ballot-to-be-the-next-snp-leader-and-scottish-first-minis Ash Regan, Humza Yousaf, and Kate Forbes, who have all secured sufficient backing to put their names on the ballot to be the next SNP leader and Scottish first minister. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

However, the contest will be decided by a vote of SNP members rather than voters at large.

The poll also asked voters about the candidates’ performance in their ministerial roles in terms of whether they were doing a good or bad job.

Yousaf was on minus 16 in this regard.

Speaking to Sky’s Sophy Ridge show, he said: “Any health secretary in the midst of a global pandemic is going to face the challenges that we’re facing up here in Scotland.

“In fact, those long waits (in hospitals) are replicated in Conservative-led England or Labour-run Wales.

“So, those are common problems faced right across the UK.”

He said the health service in Scotland had avoided strike action because he had “reached out” and engaged with trade unions, and a compromise had been reached.

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