Humza Yousaf insists he was right to terminate Green deal despite losing his job as First Minister

Humza Yousaf and his wife Nadia El-Nakla depart Bute House following his resignation as First minister -Credit:Getty Images
Humza Yousaf and his wife Nadia El-Nakla depart Bute House following his resignation as First minister -Credit:Getty Images

Humza Yousaf has insisted it was the right decision to terminate the powersharing deal between the SNP and Greens despite it costing him his job as First Minister.

In his first interview since announcing his resignation on Monday, the outgoing SNP leader declared: "It's on me".

Yousaf dramatically ended the Bute House Agreement on the morning of April 25 following a brief meeting with Green co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater.

But by the end of the day the furious environmentalists had declared they would support a motion of no confidence in the First Minister, which had been tabled by the Tories.

That forced Yousaf on the defensive as he desperately tried to secure votes to save his leadership - before concluding late on Sunday he would have to resign.

Speaking to BBC Scotland today, he said: "In my mind, whether it was a matter of days or weeks, the Bute House agreement was coming to an end."

"That’s why I say that ending the Bute House agreement was the right thing to do for the party and the country.

"But I accept fully the manner in which it was done clearly caused upset and therefore I’ve paid the price of that."

Yousaf insisted he did not regret ending the deal - but continued: "I just regret the manner in which I ended it".

The First Minister also said he would not endorse a candidate in the SNP leadership race to succeed him - although no member has as yet confirmed their intention to run.

"I would say to supporters of any candidate that we will gain nothing if we talk each other down," he added.

"The only people who benefit from that are our opponents."

Asked if he felt Scotland could have a first minister who opposes gay marriage, referring to Kate Forbes, Yousaf said "you can be a person of faith and be first minister".

He added that both potential SNP leadership candidates, John Swinney and Kate Forbes, are "committed Christians".

He added: "What people will judge any potential candidate on are their policies, what they stand for, what they will advocate, what they might end up moving away from in terms of policy.

"That is the right discussion to have - not whether somebody of faith can be first minister."

Yousaf also admitted relations with the Scottish Greens were becoming “strained” before the powersharing deal was ended.

He said some members of the SNP were unhappy about Patrick Harvie’s comments on the Cass Review – a report into gender services in England – in which he questioned the scientific evidence used.

In Scotland, new prescriptions of puberty blockers were paused while the Government considered how the review impacted services north of the border.

Yousaf said: "I made it very clear my position and the Government’s position was on the Cass Review, but it is fair to say that of course those comments that were made by Patrick Harvie on the Sunday Show did upset a lot in my group.

“We co-operated well with the Greens for almost three years on a number of issues but it was clearly becoming strained, the Bute House Agreement.”

He said he felt it was going to be “a matter of days or weeks” until the powersharing deal with the Greens came to an end, however he added: “I accept fully the manner in which it was done clearly caused upset and therefore I’ve paid the price of that.”

A Scottish Greens spokesman said: “The First Minister took the decision to end the Bute House Agreement, and it is right that he has taken responsibility and resigned.

“The Scottish Greens will work positively and constructively from opposition, as we have before, and are committed to delivering on our vision of a fairer, greener and more equal future in an independent Scotland.

“We hold no ill will toward Humza Yousaf, and wish him and his family well in the next chapter of their lives.”

It comes as Labour today claimed Scotland was "trapped between two unstable, chaotic and failing governments".

Ian Murray, the Shadow Scottish Secretary, said: "The truth is Scotland is trapped between two unstable, chaotic and failing governments who are using the public as pawns for their own party agendas.

"We’ve had three Prime Ministers and now three First Ministers in as many years, although it could even be four First Ministers if the member for Aberdeen South gets his way.

"What is abundantly clear to the people of Scotland is that neither the Tories nor the SNP can deliver the change Scotland needs."

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