Yousaf: 'I will be the First Minister to lead Scotland to independence'

The FM said he would be the one to 'break the Westminster intransigence' over a second referendum after setting out plans for a Scottish constitution.

Humza Yousaf believes he will be the First Minister to lead Scotland to independence from the United Kingdom.

The SNP leader told STV News he would be the FM to “break the Westminster intransigence” over the granting of a new vote on the the issue.

Yousaf, who was elected to replace Nicola Sturgeon in March, said there was “no pressure” on his predecessor to quit the SNP in the wake of her arrest and subsequent release during the Police Scotland investigation into the party’s finances.

He was speaking after launching the fourth Building a New Scotland prospectus covering constitutional matters in the event of a pro-independence vote.

Under that blueprint, the country would retain King Charles III as head of state – as long as there was “a desire to do so” from the Scottish electorate.

A new written constitution, voted on in another referendum, would also be enshrined in law, as would a commitment to keeping the NHS free at the point of use and a “duty” to outlaw nuclear weapons such as Trident.

Yousaf will address SNP members at the party’s “Independence Convention” in Dundee on Saturday, June 24 where the “sole focus” will be on plotting a route to a new ballot following the UK Government’s imposition on a section 30 order to block the vote.

However, the FM would not be drawn on an exact timescale for that to take place.

He said: “I genuinely believe I will be the leader to deliver independence for Scotland, I wouldn’t have put myself forward for the leadership if I didn’t think I could.

“I don’t have a timescale, I believe it will be within my leadership, not just through my actions, but through popular support because it is popular support that will break the logjam created by Westminster denial.”

The “Creating a modern constitution for an independent Scotland” paper states an “interim constitution providing stability and clarity” would take effect in the immediate aftermath of an independence vote.

Yousaf said he was unable to provide details of what that document would look like, but said it – along with the retention of the monarchy – would be up to the Scottish people to decide.

“A written constitution that protects, for example, an adequate standard of living, it is not abstract, I think it is fundamental to people’s lives right now,” he said.

“In the context of the Westminster system, these proposals do sound radical.

“That’s not an abstract concept – it is worth remembering the UK Government is already seriously considering the repeal of the Human Rights Act, one of the most significant achievements of any UK Parliament in the last 30 years.

“In future, Westminster sovereignty could even allow the UK Parliament to repeal devolution through nothing other than a simple majority vote.”

At a hastily-convened press conference outside her home on Sunday, Sturgeon said she “knew she had done nothing wrong” after being held by officers on June 11.

Yousaf was under pressure from some in his own party to suspend the former FM, but said he would leave it up to her whether she wanted to remain a member.

“There is no pressure on Nicola Sturgeon to have to suspend her membership,” he said.

“I don’t want her to have to, my focus is not on whether Nicola Sturgeon suspends her membership or not, my focus is making sure the government focuses on the priority of the people of Scotland, the cost of living crisis, the NHS, growing our wellbeing economy, advancing the case for independence; these are the issues.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code