John Swinney expected to declare bid to become new SNP leader | Politics News

John Swinney is expected to declare his bid to become the new leader of the SNP later today, Sky News understands.

It comes after Humza Yousaf announced he was standing down as SNP leader and Scotland’s first minister following his decision last week to cut power-sharing ties with the Scottish Greens – a move which saw his leadership collapse.

Mr Swinney previously served as SNP leader between 2000 and 2004; later becoming Nicola Sturgeon’s number two from 2014 to 2023.

He is considered a front-runner for the top job once again, having garnered support from senior figures within his party, including from the SNP’s Westminster leader, Stephen Flynn.

The Perthshire North MSP is expected to make a statement in Edinburgh on Thursday morning.

However, he could face competition from the party’s former finance minister Kate Forbes, who narrowly lost out to Mr Yousaf in last year’s leadership election.

Kate Forbes speaks to the media at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. The SNP is beginning the search for a new leader after a day of drama in Scottish politics saw Humza Yousaf announce his resignation as the country's First Minister. Picture date: Tuesday April 30, 2024.
Kate Forbes. Pic: PA

Though the Skye, Lochaber, and Badenoch MSP has not confirmed her intention to enter the leadership contest, she has so far refused to rule herself out of the race.

“I am still considering all the options, but I also know that there is a lot of support for me across the country and across the party, and last year proved that,” she told Sky News on Tuesday.

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It comes after the outgoing first minister, Mr Yousaf, was forced to resign following the breakdown of the Bute House Agreement.

Within hours of the power-sharing deal coming to an end, Mr Yousaf faced the threat of a no confidence vote in himself, and later from one in the Scottish government.

Humza Yousaf speaks to Sky News
Humza Yousaf speaking to Sky News

Mr Yousaf stepped down as Scotland’s first minister just after midday on Monday, saying he was “not willing to treat my values and principles or do deals with whomever simply for retaining power”.

He said he would remain in post until a replacement first minister was chosen.

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