Humza Yousaf to stand for SNP leader

Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf has announced plans to stand for SNP leader.

He announced the move to the Sunday Mail, saying he had been through a “rollercoaster of emotions” since Nicola Sturgeon announced her resignation

The Glasgow Pollok MSP had been mulling over the possibility of succeeding Ms Sturgeon after her shock announcement this week.

Mr Yousaf, who entered Holyrood in 2011 and has been a perennial frontbencher in every SNP administration since, has long been viewed as a potential successor to Ms Sturgeon in Bute House.

But recent years have seen him mired in the controversy surrounding the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill – which faced criticisms over its impact on freedom of expression – and his stewardship of the NHS, which faced the hardest winter in its history in recent months.

Mr Yousaf becomes the first candidate to declare officially, with others – including Finance Secretary Kate Forbes, Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson and former minister Ash Regan among those touted as potential candidates.

If successful, the 37-year-old would become the first first minister from a minority background, as well as the youngest.

Candidates have until Friday to receive more than the threshold of 100 nominations from at least 20 local branches.

If more than one candidate passes that mark, an election will be triggered, culminating on March 27.