Scottish Muslim Health Secretary Humza Yousaf launching bid to become Scotland leader

Scottish Muslim Health Secretary Humza Yousaf launching bid to become Scotland leader
Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf, who is Muslim and of South Asian descent, has announced he will run to be Scotland's next First Minister and Scottish National Party leader.
2 min read
19 February, 2023
Yousaf was the youngest and first ethnic minority MSP to be elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2011 [Getty]

Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf has announced he will run to be Scotland’s next first minister and leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP).

Yousaf, the Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the Glasgow Pollock constituency, is running to replace Nicola Sturgeon, who on Wednesday announced her intention to step down as Scotland and SNP leader.

"I’m doing it because the top job requires somebody who has experience and I have been trusted by Nicola Sturgeon with some of the toughest jobs in government," the 37-year-old said in a video announcement posted to his Twitter page.

"There is far too much division in our society… I believe I have the skills to reach across the divide and bring people together, be that in our own party, or indeed across the country," he said.

Yousaf became the first Muslim and South Asian minister to the Scottish Government in 2011.

Nicola Sturgeon appointed him in 2016 as her Transport Secretary.

He also joined the cabinet in June 2018 as Secretary for Justice before becoming health secretary in 2021.

He faced backlash as justice secretary over the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill's impact on freedom of expression.

Sturgeon has faced calls from opposition parties to sack Yousaf for his perceived failures as health secretary.

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Former minister Ash Regan has also launched a bid for Sturgeon's position.

Finance Minister Kate Forbes and Justice Secretary Keith Brown are also tipped to stand for the role, according to the BBC.

The winner of the contest is set to be announced on 27 March.