Humza Yousaf resigns as Scotland's First Minister

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The SNP leader has been under pressure since he ended a power-sharing deal with the Scottish Greens last week.

Humza Yousaf has quit as First Minister after failing to negotiate with rival parties over the weekend ahead of two no-confidence votes in the Scottish Parliament. He announced his decision at a press conference in Bute House, his official residence in Edinburgh.

Mr Yousaf faced two votes of no confidence: one from the Scottish Conservatives; and another from Scottish Labour, which tabled a motion on confidence in the Scottish Government as a whole. The votes were expected to be scheduled for either Wednesday or Thursday.

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He said: “My hope was to continue working with the Greens in a less formal arrangement as the SNP moves to a new phase of minority government.

“Unfortunately in ending it I clearly underestimated the level of hurt and upset that it caused to Green colleagues.

“For minority government to work effectively, trust is clearly fundamental.

“While a route through this week’s motions of no confidence were absolutely possible, I am not willing to trade my values or do deals simply to retain power.

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“Therefore after spending the weekend reflecting on what’s best for the party, the government, and the country I lead, I have concluded that repairing that relationship can only be done with someone else at the helm.

“I have therefore informed the national secretary of my intention to stand down as party leader.”

Former Scottish deputy first minister John Swinney said it would be a “difficult day”. Mr Swinney, who served as deputy under Nicola Sturgeon, was asked about current events in Scottish politics as he appeared at an event held by the Resolution Foundation on 25 years of devolution this morning.

“We face a difficult day today,” the former deputy first minister said. “The First Minister is going to make a statement later on today, I think it is best if I let the First Minister speak for himself.”

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Humza Yousaf was leading a minority administration in the Scottish Government after breaking a power-sharing agreement with the Green Party on Thursday.

Yousaf succeeded Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister in March 2023. He has been Member of the Scottish Parliament for Glasgow Pollok since 2016, having previously been a regional MSP for Glasgow from 2011 to 2016.

Born to Pakistani immigrants in Glasgow, Yousaf went to school at Hutchesons’ Grammar before studying politics at the University of Glasgow, He worked as a parliamentary assistant for Bashir Ahmad. Following Ahmad’s death in 2009, Yousaf went on to work as a parliamentary assistant for both Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon.

Prior to his election to parliament in 2011, he worked in the SNP's party headquarters as a communications officer. Appointed as a junior minister under Salmond in 2012, Yousaf served as Minister for External Affairs and International Development until 2014.

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He served as Europe Minister, then Minister for Transport and the Islands in Nicola Sturgeon’s cabinet before being promoted to Justice Secretary. In 2021, he was appointed Health Secretary during the later phase of the pandemic, responsible for the mass roll-out of the vaccination programme which began under his predecessor.

Following Nicola Sturgeon's resignation as leader of the SNP and as first minister, Yousaf won the 2023 SNP leadership election, defeating Kate Forbes with 52% to her 48% in the final stage. Yousaf was appointed first minister on 29 March 2023, becoming the youngest person, the first Scottish Asian, and the first Muslim to serve in office. He was sworn into the Privy Council in May 2023.

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