John Swinney voted in as First Minister of Scotland following ballot of MSPs at Holyrood

John Swinney has been voted in by MSPs today to become Scotland's next First Minister.

In a speech at the Scottish Parliament, he said: "I hope we can all recognise that despite our political differences, we’re all here because we want the best for Scotland, whatever our specific role happens to be".

The veteran Nationalist had already been named the new leader of the SNP yesterday after running unopposed to replace Humza Yousaf.

Swinney won the backing of 64 MSPs, with his nearest rival Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross picking up 31.

It comes just eight days after predecessor Humza Yousaf announced he was stepping down after his decision to terminate the powersharing agreement the SNP and Scottish Greens left him facing a vote of no confidence in his leadership.

It means Swinney becomes the seventh leader of the Scottish Government, 25 years on from the dawn of the devolution era.

Speaking before the vote, he told MSPs: "I am greatly honoured to be a nominee for First Minister of Scotland.

"This year is a year of anniversaries for our new democracy. It is 25 years since the establishment of this Parliament, and it is 10 years since the referendum on independence.

"So it is a time to reflect, but more importantly, to look to the future.

"Both those democratic events were a result of growing demand from many people in Scotland for self-government. The extent of that self-government journey is still a matter of debate.

"But we are all sitting here today because a sizeable majority believe that in key aspects of Scottish life it is better for decisions about Scotland to be made here in Scotland."

Yousaf had earlier hailed his successor as "one of the most empathetic, kind, compassionate people that I’ve had the pleasure of knowing over the years".

“Such qualities are crucial in life, they are absolutely necessary as first minister."

Swinney also offered “eternal gratitude” to his wife Elizabeth for the “sacrifices she is prepared to make to enable her husband to serve our country as First Minister”.

He told the Scottish Parliament: “Members will know that my wife Elizabeth has multiple sclerosis.

“She is indefatigable in trying to make sure that MS does not get in the way of her living life to the full. But much to her frustration, she does often have to rely on her husband for support and assistance.

“I could not just commit myself to become First Minister without being able to properly work out with my family how we would be able to manage as a family.”

And the new SNP leader paid tribute to Yousaf after he resigned.

“I’m proud that it was an SNP government that was led by the first woman first minister and then by the first Muslim first minister,” he said.

“I want to pay tribute to Humza Yousaf – a man of unfailing courtesy who served my party but also this parliament and country with distinction.”

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