Kate Forbes hails 'honourable' Humza Yousaf as SNP MSPs encourage her to run for leader

Kate Forbes narrowly lost to Humza Yousaf in the SNP leadership race in March
Kate Forbes narrowly lost to Humza Yousaf in the SNP leadership race in March last year -Credit:Getty Images

Kate Forbes has refused to address whether she will run for the SNP leadership in her first statement since Humza Yousaf resigned as First Minister.

The former finance secretary said Yousaf is "an honourable man" who "cared passionately" about Scotland.

Yousaf beat Forbes in the SNP leadership contest with 52 per cent of the vote after the second round.

She refused a job in his cabinet after he offered her a demotion to rural affairs.

The MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch is considered one of the frontrunners to replace him.

She said: "As First Minister Humza Yousaf cared passionately about Scotland. Few of us will forget his statesmanship and compassion on Gaza.

"He is an honourable man, who displayed dignity and humility today. I wish him and Nadia well with their impending new arrival in the summer."

It's not yet known if Forbes will stand this time round.

Former SNP leader and ex-deputy first minister John Swinney has said he is considering putting himself forward.

Senior SNP MSP Fergus Ewing said Forbes was “head and shoulders” above any other candidate to take over as party leader.

He told BBC Radio 4: “Kate Forbes, without a shadow of a doubt, is head and shoulders above the other candidates and she also is not associated with the problems that I think caused Humza eventually to resign."

Forbes' leadership campaign got off to a rocky start last year after she said she opposed gay marriage and that people shouldn't have children out of wedlock.

She came back early from maternity leave to take part in the contest.

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