John Swinney to launch SNP leadership bid in Edinburgh to succeed Humza Yousaf

Former Deputy First Minister John Swinney will launch his leadership bid for the SNP in Edinburgh today.

Swinney will finally confirm he is running after receiving support from nearly every member of the Scottish Cabinet.

His campaign launch is expected to be in central Edinburgh at 10.30am.

Kate Forbes, his rival for replacing Humza Yousaf, is poised to reveal her hand as well.

It is understood Swinney is not in favour of a contest and would be willing to offer Forbes a Cabinet post in return for not standing.

Former leader Nicola Sturgeon appealed for calm yesterday after supporters of the pair raised tensions.

Her plea came as the two contenders held secret talks to avoid putting the party through a divisive contest.

In a sign tensions are running high, Sturgeon said:

“I hope the contest is positive. I hope it is forward looking and I hope it focuses on the things that the SNP needs to do to continue its very strong election-winning streak."

Sturgeon is close to Swinney, who was her deputy for nine years, but she praised Forbes:

“Kate was a member of my cabinet. I appointed her to government, so she is undoubtedly a woman of considerable talent, but as far as I aware she hasn’t declared her candidacy.”

She added: “What I would say to my party is keep the contest positive, keep it civilised, keep it very much focused on the future.”

“I would encourage members to think about the choice that does emerge from first principles, what is best for the SNP for the future.

“We have been in government for a considerable number of years…..and the focus now has to be on what is right for Scotland going forward and what enables the SNP to continue winning elections.”

Swinney and Forbes, who have a good relationship, spoke at Holyrood on Tuesday about a possible deal.

Swinney allies told the Record they wanted their man to offer Forbes a return to Cabinet after she left when Yousaf defeated her last year.

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