Angus Robertson backs Humza Yousaf in SNP leadership race

The Scottish constitution secretary said Humza Yousaf would 'take on the Tories and protect Holyrood'.

Angus Robertson backs Humza Yousaf for SNP leader – who is backing Kate Forbes and Ash Regan? PA Media

Scotland’s constitution secretary has announced he is backing Humza Yousaf to become the next leader of the SNP.

Angus Robertson said he is in “no doubt” the Scottish health secretary is the right person for the job.

Robertson, who was previously suggested to be a potential replacement for First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, cited Yousaf’s willingness to “take on the Tories and protect Holyrood from their dirty tricks”.

Yousaf is the only candidate who has vowed to take the UK Government to court over its use of a Section 35 order to block Scotland’s gender reform bill.

Opponents Kate Forbes and Ash Regan have different views on challenging the UK Government’s decision through the Supreme Court.

However Robertson said: “As a party, we simply cannot stand aside and let the Westminster establishment trample over the democratic will of Scotland’s Parliament.”

The Edinburgh Central MSP said Yousaf is the “only candidate” who would stop the UK Government’s “power grabs on the devolution settlement”.

He added: “In times like these we need a strong leader who will unite, not divide, our Yes movement as we get ready for the campaign that lies ahead. Humza is that leader.

“As first minister, I know Humza will stand up and celebrate those who we serve and build on the progressive agenda of the SNP that has won our party so much support over the years.”

Robertson is one of the highest-profile MSPs to back Yousaf and is one of a handful of current cabinet ministers to do so.

He also cited the party’s power-sharing agreement with the Scottish Greens as a reason he backed Yousaf, insisting it was “absolutely vital that we leave no chinks in the armour and maintain our pro-independence majority in Holyrood now, and into the future”.

Humza Yousaf has seen the backing of several cabinet ministers.STV News

He added: “We cannot allow our relationship with our colleagues in the Green Party to break down ahead of the fight of our lives in a fresh referendum on independence.

“We need our independence and we need to rejoin the European Union where Scotland belongs to reap the rewards of freedom of movement, financial investment and access to a European single market.

“That is absolutely vital if we are to ensure Scotland can become the fairer, prosperous and more equal nation we know it can be.”

The Scottish Greens have signalled they may end their deal with the SNP if Forbes is elected following her admission she would have voted against equal marriage in 2014 if she was an MSP.

Meanwhile, Regan said she was “not afraid” of leaving the Bute House agreement formed with the Scottish Greens.

Regan quit the Scottish Government in opposition to its gender reform legislation, which is seen as a red line for the Greens.

Scotland’s Next First Minister: The STV Debate is on STV and the STV Player at 9pm on Tuesday, March 7, with live reaction and analysis on the STV News website.  

Who is backing who in the SNP leadership race?

Ash Regan

Joanna Cherry MP

Kate Forbes

Ivan McKee MSP, (business minister)

Fergus Ewing MSP

Michelle Thomson MSP

Jim Fairlie MSP

Alex Neil, (former SNP MSP)

Humza Yousaf

Angus Robertson MSP, (secretary for constitution, external affairs and culture)

Maree Todd MSP, (public health minister)

Jenny Gilruth MSP, (transport minister)

Mairi McAllan MSP, (environment minister)

Ben Macpherson MSP, (social security minister)

Michael Matheson MSP, (energy secretary)

Graeme Dey MSP

Jenni Minto MSP

Joe FitzPatrick MSP

Karen Adam MSP

Neil Gray MSP

Emma Harper MSP

Pete Wishart MP

Owen Thompson MP

Chris Stephens MP

Anum Qaisar MP

Chris Law MP

Anne McLaughlin MP

Alison Thewliss MP

Tommy Sheppard MP

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