Humza Yousaf needs to be given time to build coalition at Holyrood

First Minister Humza Yousaf
First Minister Humza Yousaf -Credit:PA

The need for a UK general election as soon as possible is clear – and Keir Starmer is right to demand it.

The divided Tories are unable to govern. Every week it seems another one of their MPs chooses to jump ship or is forced to resign amid scandal.

The public across the UK are sick and tired of the Conservatives after more than a decade of misrule and scandal.

There is a credible alternative with Starmer ready to step in at No10. The Shadow Cabinet is full of serious politicians ready to take charge.

Sunak is floundering. He is clinging on to power for its own sake. We have to hope he shows some backbone by going to the people. Only then will the public finally be able to put this rotten Tory Government out of its misery.

Starmer and his team will face a mammoth list of challenges when they take office. At least we can be reassured that some real public servants have returned to Downing Street.

Given the clamour for a UK election, it’s understandable Scots are wondering whether now is the time for a Holyrood poll as well. The next Holyrood election isn’t due until 2026. But given events of the last week, there is a real chance it could take place in the coming months.

Humza Yousaf’s authority has been badly damaged. He faces two votes of no confidence at Holyrood this week.

Opposition parties can scarcely believe their luck as the SNP staggers from one crisis to another. Unlike Westminster, however, there is no “ready and waiting” alternative government at Holyrood.

Anas Sarwar has made great strides as Scottish Labour leader but he’d have to admit they’d be unlikely to win a huge majority in a new Holyrood vote.

Opposition parties who fancy their chances might say they are ready for an election now. But it could just add to the confusion around Scotland’s government – at a time when our schools, hospitals and other public services are crying out for strong leadership.

For that reason, Yousaf needs to be given the time to try to build a coalition at Holyrood to govern effectively.

After all, when the Scottish Parliament was reconvened in 1999 the electoral system was designed to create consensus and avoid one-party rule.

If Yousaf survives this week, he has the right to try to make minority government work. If the SNP government fails to meet that challenge there will be a reason for voters to be given the chance to break the impasse in Scottish politics.

But we are not there yet.

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