'Sex is for marriage': SNP leadership candidate Kate Forbes explains her faith but adds 'you can do what you want' in free society

SNP leadership candidate Kate Forbes has told Sky News that her faith means having children outside of marriage is "wrong" and something she personally would "seek to avoid".

The finance secretary also said transgender double rapist Isla Bryson "is a man" and she does not support making it easier for people aged 16 and 17 to change gender.

When questioned about her views on children outside of marriage, Ms Forbes told Sky News: "It's entirely up to them. It's something that I would seek to avoid for me personally.

"But it doesn't fuss me, it doesn't put me up nor down. The choices that other people make is [up to them].

"In terms of my faith, my faith would say that sex is for marriage and that's the approach that I would practice."

The MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch said she celebrates the lives that have been brought into the world outside of marriage, but it was not in line with the teachings of her faith as a member of the Free Church of Scotland.

She added: "For me, it would be wrong according to my faith, but for you I have no idea what your faith is. So, in a free society you can do what you want."

Ms Forbes's comments come amid a backlash over her equal marriage views. She once again apologised for any "hurt or offence" they may have caused.

The MSP, who is in the running for SNP leader and first minister alongside Humza Yousaf and Ash Regan, said she would work with Scottish Greens MSP Gillian Mackay on a bill to introduce buffer zones around abortion clinics.

When questioned over the controversial case of transgender double rapist Isla Bryson, Ms Forbes said: "A rapist cannot be a woman and therefore my straight answer would be that Isla Bryson is a man."

Ms Forbes stated that it was "outrageous" the UK government blocked the Scottish government's controversial Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.

However, she said: "We do need to look again at safeguards, particularly around young people.

"I would have been far more supportive of it being 18-year-olds."

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When questioned over whether she would challenge the intervention in court, Ms Forbes said most polling had shown that the people of Scotland want the Scottish government to focus on issues like the cost of living and the NHS.

She said: "On day one of becoming first minister, I will be setting out my plans and policies to deliver economic growth and to ensure that the NHS is on a sustainable footing."

On independence, Ms Forbes said the party needed to "reach out more" to win voters.

She said: "We need a first minister who is absolutely fully behind our businesses and our workers to deliver economic growth."

The MSP added that she would use the next election to demonstrate support for indyref2 "by putting independence front and centre".

When asked what's the wildest thing she's ever done, Ms Forbes said: "Riding a motorbike. I learned to ride a motorbike long before I could drive a car."

Speaking to Sky News after Ms Forbes, Humza Yousaf said he was in with a "fighting chance" of winning the leadership contest due to his experience.

He described Ms Forbes as "extraordinarily talented" and "very competent".

The health secretary noted: "I think it's important that whatever the person's personal views are, or religious convictions are, that they don't interfere with the policy or legislative process."