Scotland needs a first minister for a new decade, says Forbes
Kate Forbes has pitched herself to SNP members as a “first minister for a new decade” in the race to replace Nicola Sturgeon.
The Scottish Finance Secretary is currently running against Health Secretary Humza Yousaf and former community safety minister Ash Regan for the SNP leadership and the keys to Bute House.
Ms Forbes told the BBC’s Sunday Show that continuity “won’t cut it”, in what could be seen as a veiled swipe at Mr Yousaf who has been described as such – although the Health Secretary has rejected the label and said he would be his “own man”.
“Keep doing the same things, you’re going to get the same results, and that’s why I think we need a fundamental shift,” she said.
Ms Forbes said she would seek to invest in small businesses, giving them “breathing space” to help grow the economy, and added that competency in government could lead to increased support for Scottish independence.
“To do that, they need a leader with the competence and the experience of delivery,” she added.
Asked if she believes Ms Sturgeon and Alex Salmond were both viewed as competent, Ms Forbes said: “Absolutely, but we need a new leader for a new decade and that new leader needs to have a particular focus and experience and desire to eradicate poverty through economic prosperity.
“We’re at a moment in time and I think I’m the leader who has that competence and that track record of delivery.”
When asked if Mr Yousaf could have done a better job in managing the NHS, Ms Forbes refused to engage with the question, instead saying Scotland must “get serious about delivery”.
Scottish Conservative chairman Craig Hoy said Ms Forbes is “portraying herself as the outsider” but she has been a senior minister in the Scottish Government since 2020, adding: “Kate Forbes can’t be the new broom when her fingerprints are all over the SNP Government’s failures.”
Ms Forbes has also said she would make sure the prospectus for an independent Scotland is written by the SNP, rather than by “the British civil service”.
Ms Sturgeon previously announced she would lay out her Government’s independence plan in a series of papers – three of which have been published – drawn up with input from civil servants.
Speaking to the Sunday National, Ms Forbes said: “I would like to see it being written by the party and not by the British civil service, because I think it’s important that that paper, that programme, reflects the policy ideas of our members.”
The candidate’s comments came in the hours before an online hustings event on Sunday, which the party said would not be livestreamed despite outcry from media outlets earlier in the week over a lack of access to the debates.
A spokesman for the party said only in-person hustings will be livestreamed, with the next due to be the event in Dumfries on Monday.
Meanwhile, fellow candidate Ms Regan was pressed on her independence plans.
She proposes that a majority vote for independence-supporting parties in any future Scottish or general election would be grounds for the beginning of negotiations to begin on Scotland leaving the UK.
Speaking on the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg, Ms Regan said her plan would be “clearly set out” ahead of voters going to the polls.
“People in Scotland would know what they were voting for was to get the government in Edinburgh and the government in Westminster together to negotiate Scotland’s exit,” she said.
“Scotland would be very clear on what they were voting for, the UK would be very clear on what Scotland was voting for, and the international community would be very clear about what Scotland is voting for.
“I don’t think there’s any question of the UK Government not recognising Scotland’s democratic choice.”
Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie said the comments from the candidates on Sunday show all three are “woeful options”, describing Ms Regan as “utterly obsessed with independence” and saying Ms Forbes is attempting to “distance herself from the SNP’s record of failure”.
Also on Sunday, Mr Yousaf outlined plans to hold “independence campaign workshops” for party members as part of his pitch to become the “first activist”.
He also pledged the creation of a “round-the-clock rebuttal service” to counter what he described as “disinformation” from opposition parties and a “root and branch” overhaul of independence campaigning materials.