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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Humza Yousaf – Scotland’s historic first South Asian First Minister, steps down

In the wake of facing two votes brought by rival parties, the leader of Scottish National Party, (SNP), and First Minister of Scotland, has officially resigned.

The decision was triggered by his scrapping of a coalition with The Green Party, which rocked his party to its core. The move also led to a vote of no confidence in his leadership by both the Scottish Conservatives, supported by The Green Party, and Scottish Labour.

It comes only a year after the previous SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon also resigned.

In a televised press conference, Mr Yousaf stated:

“I am not willing to trade my values and principles or do deals with whoever, simply to remain in power.

Therefore, 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.”

The key factor in Mr Yousaf’s decision was the unexpected upset and hurt that his decision to scrap the coalition with the Greens generated. He commented:

“I clearly underestimated the amount of hurt and upset that caused the Green Party.”

His decision was also due no confidence votes being brought by opposition parties, both of which it was predicted that he would lose.

Mr Yousaf was distinguished in being the first South Asian Muslim First Minister of Scotland. In his speech, he talks of the long way that Scottish politics have come in his time:

“As a young boy born and raised in Scotland, I could never have dreamt that on day I would have the privilege of leading my country. People who looked like me were not in positions of political influence, let alone leading governments.

We now live in the UK which has a British Hindu Prime Minister, a Muslim Mayor of London, a black Welsh first Minister, and for a little longer, a Scottish Asian first Minister.”

Mr Yousaf’s decision also has wide reached and important implications for UK politics across the board. It means turmoil for the Scottish National Party as the resignation will be the second leadership crisis for the SNP in less than 18 months.

The fallout from the coalition with the Green Party could also not just change power dynamics in Scotland but lead to policy change across the UK. The move could also provide an opportunity for Labour to win in Scotland – with polls already putting Labour ahead for the next UK general election.

Scotland turning to Labour could potentially be a tipping point in the UK contest between Labour and conservatives, meaning that a new labour government could be shortly on the horizon.

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