Kate Forbes rules out standing in SNP leadership contest to replace Humza Yousaf

Kate Forbes has ruled out joining the race to become the new leader of the SNP - paving the way for John Swinney to become Scotland's next first minister.

The former finance secretary, who narrowly lost out to Humza Yousaf in a previous leadership contest, finally announced her decision in a statement after days of speculation.

Forbes said today: "I have concluded the best way to deliver the urgent change Scotland needs is to join John Swinney and advocate for a reform agenda within the Scottish Government."

Swinney has earlier launched his own leadership campaign in Edinburgh and declared he wanted Forbes to play a part in his government.

The Skye and Lochaber MSP said she had listened “very carefully” to the SNP veteran after the pair held talks earlier this week and considered what to do with "great care" following “frank and constructive" discussions.

Forbes said the pair agreed on a "powerful common purpose for the country".

She added: “That includes a passion to revitalise our party, reach out to those who feel disempowered and reinvigorate the independence movement.

“It also includes an understanding that economic growth and tackling poverty must again be key priorities, and that a just transition to ‘net zero’ must work with, and not against, our communities and businesses.”

At his own leadership launch in Edinburgh earlier today, Swinney effectively promised her a top cabinet job if he becomes leader.

The MSP for Skye and Lochaber was a highly rated minister but lost out to Yousaf in last year's leadership contest.

Her socially conservative views, such as opposition to same sex marriage, were cited as a reason for her defeat to Yousaf.

But her candid assessment of the party's failures in government chimed with many SNP members and the wider public.

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