John Swinney pledges not to shout at people as new SNP leader reaches out to opponents

John Swinney has pledged he "won't shout at people" as the newly installed SNP leader reached out to opposition parties at Holyrood.

The veteran Nationalist, who was installed today as Humza Yousaf's replacement unopposed, admitted in his acceptance speech that he had contributed to division in Scottish politics in the past.

But he firmly consigned the Bute House Agreement to history as he admitted his party would not always agree with the Scottish Greens on key issues in the future - meaning his minority government would have to work with other parties instead.

The 60-year-old was confirmed as the SNP's new leader earlier on Monday after no rival candidate emerged to challenge him in the race to replace Humza Yousaf.

His coronation comes one week to the day that Yousaf dramatically resigned as he faced losing a motion of no confidence in Holyrood.

The former finance secretary, a close ally of Nicola Sturgeon, is expected to be voted in as First Minister on Tuesday after a vote in the Scottish Parliament.

He used a short speech at the University of Glasgow to declare his "principle interest" as First Minister would be reducing child poverty.

But he also faced questions on whether his new conciliatory approach to opposition parties was sustainable.

The SNP no longer has a majority in Parliament after ending its powersharing deal with the Greens.

When asked if he accepted that he had contributed to division in Scottish politics, Swinney said: "I've obviously contributed to that, yes, of course I have.

"I look at politics today and I think politics is in the worst state I've ever seen it in my lengthy involvement in politics.

"I'm here to do something about that, to change that so we can have an open, honest and respectful dialogue in Scotland about what the future holds for us and what the future should be.

"I'm very clear of what I think he future should be. I'm also equally clear I won't get that by shouting at people.

"I'll get that by persuading people. That's what I'm committing myself to do."

Swinney added that he would reach out to other parties in Holyrood.

He said: “I want to work with all members of parliament to chart the future of Scotland and to do that in a collaborative and cooperative way.

"I don't intend to return to the Bute House Agreement. I don't intend to return to the type of fixed arrangements that we had.

"We'll take it on an issue by issue basis which means that on some issues I'm sure we'll be aligned with the Scottish Green Party.

"But I'm sure on other issues we'll have to find support and agreement with other political parties."

Asked what his big ideas would be as leader of the country, Swinney said: "My principle policy interest - the thing I am determined to do - is to eradicate child poverty in Scotland.

"Observe what we do in the period going forward, because if I have the privilege to be selected as First Minister, I will start focusing the Government on maximising what we can do within our powers to eradicate child poverty. It is a curse.

"Under my leadership, I want to eradicate it."

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