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Humza Yousaf elected new leader of SNP

Humza Yousaf, 37, set to become Scotland’s first ethnic-minority First Minister.


Credit: SNP Twitter


Scotland’s former Health Secretary Humza Yousaf defeated party rival Kate Forbes in the Scottish National Party leadership race, setting him to be First Minister when the Scottish Parliament seats tomorrow.

Mr Humza won 52.1% of party votes cast to Ms Forbes’ 47.9% votes, after third rival Ash Regan was eliminated and her second preference votes were redistributed in the party members-only vote. Prior to the final ballot, Yousaf received 24,336 (48.2% ) in the first round of voting, Forbes got 20,559 (40.7%), while Regan received 5,559 (11.1%). A total of 50,494 votes were cast, representing a 70% turnout.

Yousaf, a close ally of the outgoing First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, was born in Glasgow in 1985 and is of Pakistani ancestry. He graduated in Political Science from Glasgow University before joining the SNP and being elected as a member of the Scottish Parliament in 2011.
Since 2011, Yousaf has played a crucial role in Sturgeon’s administration. Between 2012 and 2018 he held the position of Minister for External Affairs and International Development, being the first Asian and Muslim to be appointed as a Minister in the Scottish Government.

Following the formation of Sturgeon’s second Government, Yousaf was appointed Minister for Transport and the Islands. He was then promoted to Cabinet Secretary for Justice, a position that he kept until 2021. He held the position of Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, a sensitive portfolio, in the middle of the Covid–19 pandemic.

Yousaf is a vocal supporter of Scottish Independence that he only considers can be "achieved through a democratic, peaceful means without a single drop of blood being spilled.” During his campaign, Yousaf committed to defending Scottish democracy, delivering independence and tackling child poverty and the cost of living crisis, whilst also protecting and advancing human rights.

Hamza Yousaf is the second politician of immigrant descent to hold such an important position in the United Kingdom, only a few months after Rishi Sunak, himself of Hindu-Indian heritage, was elected to 10 Downing Street in October 2022.

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