Who are the frontrunners to replace Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister?

Nicola Sturgeon says she will remain in power until her successor is chosen by the party.

Who are the frontrunners to replace Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister?

Speculation over who will replace Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister is mounting following news of her resignation.

Big names within the SNP including health secretary Humza Yousaf and current deputy first minister John Swinney are among the potential candidates for the top job.

With Sturgeon confirming she will remain in power until the party have appointed her successor, here is a look at the politicians speculated to throw their hat in the ring.

John Swinney

John Swinney.Scottish Parliament

The country’s current deputy first minister was among the possible names for the leadership – but confirmed he would not be standing.

Appointed to his current role in 2014 when Sturgeon become First Minister, Swinney has held a number of seats in parliament including finance secretary from 2007 to 2016 and education secretary from 2016 to 2021.

He briefly served as SNP leader in the early 2000s after Alex Salmond quit as party leader but later resigned.

Swinney was among the first to pay tribute to Sturgeon following her resignation, saying she had “given outstanding leadership to our country, Government and party”.

Humza Yousaf

Humza Yousaf.Scottish Government

The current health secretary is another frontrunner for the role. The 37-year-old became the youngest MSP when he was elected to the Scottish Parliament at the age of 26.

Yousaf has served in numerous roles throughout his political career and was appointed as cabinet secretary for justice in 2018.

Among his notable work in the role was the introduction of the Hate Crime Bill which caused controversy among his political opponents.

As health secretary, he has recently come under pressure over record waiting times in A&E wards during one of the most challenging winters for the NHS.

Angus Robertson

Angus Robertson.Getty Images

The current culture and external affairs secretary, and former Westminster leader of the party, Robertson has been considered an early favourite for the job.

Robertson has been at the frontline of politics for some time, and a vocal supporter of a second referendum on independence.

After losing his Westminster seat in 2017, he is now MSP for Edinburgh Central.

Kate Forbes

Kate Forbes.Scottish Parliament

Elected to parliament in 2016, Forbes became the first woman to take on the role of secretary for finance and economy.

In 2020, she delivered the Scottish Government’s budget just hours after the resignation of her predecessor Derek Mackay.

The Gaelic-speaker is currently on maternity leave after giving birth to her first child.

If successful, the 32-year-old would be the SNP’s youngest-ever leader.

Keith Brown

Keith Brown. Scottish Parliament TV

The depute leader of the SNP and justice secretary has been an MSP since the 2007 Scottish Parliament election.

He has recently been as the forefront of debates regarding the placement of transgender people in Scottish prisons following the case of Isla Bryson.

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