John Swinney Confirms He Is Running To Be SNP Leader And First Minister

The veteran MSP is the clear favourite to take over from Humza Yousaf as Kate Forbes announced she would not stand.
Stefan Rousseau - PA Images via Getty Images

John Swinney has confirmed that he is standing to be SNP leader and Scotland’s new first minister.

The announcement comes days after Humza Yousaf announced he is standing down after barely a year in the job.

Kate Forbes, the only realistic obstacle to Swinney, has said she will not run.

It means Swinney, who led the SNP between 2000 and 2004, is now the clear favourite to take on the role.

Speaking in Edinburgh, he said: “I’m stepping forward to bring the SNP together. To deliver economic growth and social justice. To deliver the very best future for everyone in a modern, dynamic, diverse Scotland.

“I want to unite the SNP and unite Scotland for independence. I want to invite everyone in the SNP and in our country who wants to join me in that journey to do so now.”

She narrowly lost out to Yousaf in last year’s leadership contest and said earlier this week that she was considering a fresh bid.

In an olive branch to Forbes, made before her announcement, Swinney said: “We have many talented people leading the work of the Scottish government.

“I want Kate Forbes to play a significant part in that team. She is an intelligent, creative, thoughtful person who has much to contribute to our national life, and if elected I will make sure that Kate is able to make that contribution.”

Swinney has been a leading figure at the top of the SNP for years, and served as finance secretary, education secretary and deputy minister during its 17 years in power at the Scottish Parliament.

He returned to the backbenches last year following Nicola Sturgeon’s shock resignation as first minister.


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