John Swinney as First Minister would represent more 'continuity Sturgeon', claims Anas Sarwar

John Swinney "represents the past" and would be another "continuity Sturgeon" candidate for First Minister, Anas Sarwar has claimed.

The Nationalists are looking for a new leader today after Humza Yousaf accepted he had lost the confidence of the Scottish Parliament and announced his resignation.

But Sarwar, the Scottish Labour leader, called for a Holyrood election to be held to allow the public to decide on a new government.

Swinney, who previously served as SNP leader from 2000-2004, is now considered a frontrunner in the race to become the next First Minister.

The former deputy first minister, a close ally of Nicola Sturgeon, fuelled speculation after he said he was giving a potential leadership bid "careful consideration".

Swinney told reporters in London he been "somewhat overwhelmed by the requests that have been made for me to do that".

But Sarwar today claimed the SNP veteran "represents the past".

He told the Record: "Obviously it's up to the SNP to decide who their leader is, but it is 'continuity Sturgeon'. It is doubling down on the last 17 years of failure.

"Swinney of course almost lost a confidence vote when he was education secretary.

"I don't really mind who the next SNP leader is. I just believe in the principle that rather than this being the plaything of the SNP, it's for the people of the country to decide who to lead it."

Sarwar also called out Stephen Flynn, the SNP leader at Westminster, over his role in Yousaf's downfall.

The Scottish Labour leader branded the decision to suddenly terminate the Bute House Agreement as a "massive miscalculation".

He added: "It's probably more the manner in which he did it. I think the people who were pushing him to make that decision need to take a long, hard look at themselves.

"I'm looking at Stephen Flynn in particular. He might want to pretend that he had nothing to do with it. But everyone knows where the influence came from, everyone knows where the arm-twisting came from.

"He encouraged the First Minister to go on the front foot. It looks like he shot him in the foot. That's another example of a dysfunctional, divided political party."

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