SNP leadership race: Rising star Kate Forbes declares bid as favorite pulls out

SNP leadership race: Rising star Kate Forbes declares bid as favorite pulls out
Опубликовано: Monday, 20 February 2023 14:48

The highly-rated finance minister Humza Yousaf and Ash Regan in the race to succeed Nicola Sturgeon

LONDON — Kate Forbes has joined a three-horse race to succeed Nicola Sturgeon at the top of the pro-independence Scottish National Party.

Forbes, currently Scotland’s finance secretary, tweeted her intention to stand with a video promoting her credentials as a “unifier” and a “bold, brave, energized and fresh-faced leader.”

Her declaration comes as SNP veteran Angus Robertson, the early favorite with bookmakers, announced Monday that he would not stand. Forbes will join the Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf and the rebellious backbench lawmaker Ash Regan in the race, triggered after Sturgeon, the long-serving Scottish first minister announced her resignation last week.

Forbes, 32, has been seen as one of the SNP’s brightest lights since her sudden elevation to Sturgeon’s cabinet in 2020.

Currently on maternity leave, she is a member of the socially-conservative Free Church of Scotland, and the campaign for the top job could see her face a host of questions on so-called “culture wars” issues.

Forbes has previously expressed concerns around Sturgeon’s contentious gender reforms, which have split elements of the SNP. It was also reported that she told an audience at a prayer breakfast in 2018 that politicians should recognize that the treatment of the “unborn” was a measure of societal progress.

Yousaf, a key ally of Sturgeon, declared his candidacy Sunday with a claim that he has the experience needed for the job. Yousaf has long been considered a future leader, although some polling suggests he is less popular with the public compared to other candidates.

Regan also declared her candidacy Sunday with a promise to ditch Sturgeon’s gender reforms if elected. She resigned from Sturgeon’s cabinet last year over her opposition to the legislation.

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