Politics latest: Next Scottish FM tipped to be 'crowned with no contest' after Yousaf quits – Sky News

Tee Rasheed
11 Min Read

Humza Yousaf has announced his resignation as SNP leader and Scotland’s first minister following the fallout from his decision to end the SNP’s powersharing agreement with the Scottish Greens. Former SNP leader John Swinney is an early favourite for the job.
Monday 29 April 2024 23:00, UK
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Thanks for joining us for what has been a very significant day in Scottish politics – as we run up to local elections taking place across the UK on Thursday.
Here’s what you need to know:
We’ll be back from 6am with all the latest.
By Daniel Dunford, senior data journalist
There might not be a general election just yet, but there are important votes that will define how the areas around us are run for the next four years. 
See what’s happening where you are here:
Thursday’s local elections have been pencilled in as a day of peril for Rishi Sunak for so long, it’s hard to remember when Tory turbulence – and maybe even a leadership challenge – was not expected after 2 May.
Most council seats up for election were last contested in 2021, the high watermark of Boris Johnson’s political prowess, when the Tories were benefiting from a vaccine bounce.
Since then, the party has plunged in the polls after ploughing through two prime ministerial downfalls.
But in the Politics At Jack And Sam’s podcast, Politico UK editor Jack Blanchard and I explore whether it might be Labour who have the harder job to do if they don’t clean up some of the highest profile races, with Tories winning in long-time Labour areas.
Thursday’s local elections see 107 councils, 10 high-profile metro mayors and a parliamentary by-election in Blackpool South.
Unusually, both Tories and Labour are broadly setting their expectations in the same place and, by also studying the work of Sky analyst Professor Michael Thrasher, we’ve been working out what might happen.
Read more here:
Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf has resigned – days after he cut the SNP’s powersharing deal with the Scottish Greens.
It followed a bitter row over the SNP’s climbdown on climate targets as he said the agreement between the parties had “served its purpose”.
As a result, his former Green allies teamed up with the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats to get behind two no-confidence motions, one in himself as leader of Scotland and another regarding the entire Scottish government.
Now attention turns to another SNP leadership contest and what the divisions in Scottish politics could mean for the future of the independence campaign.  
On the Sky News Daily, Matt Barbet speaks to Paul Hutcheon, political editor of the Daily Record, and Shona Craven, from The National, about how the SNP can move on after Mr Yousaf’s resignation.
Plus, Connor Gillies, our Scotland correspondent, explains how the leadership election will unfold.  
Humza Yousaf has quit as Scotland’s first minister and leader of the SNP.
We take a look back at how the 39-year-old rose through the ranks to become Scotland’s top politician.
Mr Yousaf – the MSP for Glasgow Pollok – was born in the city on 7 April 1985 to a Pakistani father and Kenyan mother.
He was privately educated at Hutchesons’ Grammar School in Glasgow and became interested in politics during his youth.
He went on to study the topic at the University of Glasgow, graduating in 2007 with an MA.
During his time at university, he joined the SNP. He was also president of the Muslim Students Association and was involved in the Students’ Representative Council.
It was straight to Holyrood for Mr Yousaf, taking a job as a parliamentary assistant to the SNP’s Bashir Ahmad – Scotland’s first Muslim MSP.
After Mr Ahmad’s death two years later, he carried on the role and worked as an assistant for a number of MSPs, including Nicola Sturgeon and the then-first minister Alex Salmond, solidifying his place in the party.
Read more about Mr Yousaf’s life in politics from our Scotland reporter Jenness Mitchell here:
The Sky News live poll tracker – collated and updated by our Data and Forensics team – aggregates various surveys to indicate how voters feel about the different political parties.

With the local election campaign well under way, Labour is still sitting comfortably on a roughly 20-point lead, averaging at 43.5% in the polls, with the Tories on 23.2%.
In third is Reform UK on 12.4%, followed by the Lib Dems on 9.5%.
The Green Party stands at 6.2%, and the SNP on 3.0%.
See the latest update below – and you can read more about the methodology behind the tracker here.
With a general election looming, what counts as gains and losses for the main parties in next week’s locals? 
Sky’s election analyst Michael Thrasher tells us what to look out for:
By Jenness Mitchell, Scotland reporter
John Swinney is a name that has kept coming up since Humza Yousaf announced his resignation as SNP leader and Scottish first minister today.
He’s received the backing of party heavyweights like Stephen Flynn and Ian Blackford, and was the first to announce he’s giving “very careful consideration” to running for the leadership.
Speaking to Sky News, Mr Swinney said: “I’m giving very careful consideration to standing to be the leader of the SNP.
“I’ve been somewhat overwhelmed by the requests that have been made of me to do that, with many, many messages from many colleagues across the party.”
There and back again?
Mr Swinney stood down as deputy first minister following Ms Sturgeon’s shock resignation in 2023.
The former SNP leader, who resigned from that post in 2004 following poor European Parliament election results, is clearly tempted to once again step into the spotlight following his year on the backbenches.
The MSP for Perthshire North, who was finance secretary under Alex Salmond’s government, has the experience to hold the fort following Mr Yousaf’s departure.
He ruled himself out of the 2023 leadership race, citing that he had to put his young family first.
Mr Swinney said he’s got “lots of things to think about”.
He added: “There’s the whole question of my family. And I have to make sure that I do the right thing by my family, they are precious to me.
“I have to do the right thing by my party and by my country. So, there’s lots to be thought about, and I’ll give all of that consideration in the days to come.”
By Jennifer Scott, political reporter
For the DUP’s Carla Lockhart, the death of her father gave her a different view.
He died last year aged 66 after suffering from cancer for almost five years, and she said due to his faith “he never feared dying because he knew he was going to his heavenly home”. 
Speaking at Westminster Hall’s assisted dying debate today, Ms Lockhart said her father’s cancer was “absolutely horrendous” and “caused him immense pain and suffering”.
Despite that, she said he “knew that there was an appointed time for his home calling, and it wasn’t for him or any other to decide in that time”. 
She added: “The palliative care and cancer care was exceptional. With further investment, it could be even better. 
“So I speak today, not as someone who hasn’t experienced a loved one who has suffered with terminal illness. I know the journey. But I also know the one thing these people don’t need is the law telling them their lives aren’t worth living or that they are costing too much. 
“We need to tell such people they are valued, they are important, we care for them no matter the cost, and we must put our money where our mouth is and ensure that all those who need it can access high quality specialist palliative care.”  

By Jennifer Scott, political reporter
MPs crammed into Westminster Hall today to discuss the contentious issue of assisted dying after a petition – sparked by the campaign of Dame Esther Rantzen to change the law – came to the floor.
Conservative Simon Jupp told the story of how one of his own constituents made his mind up on the issue.
They met when he was walking past the elderly man’s garden, where he was pruning on his wife’s behalf as she was now in a local care home.
“At this point I could see he wanted to cry,” said Mr Jupp. 
“In a very British way he apologised and went on to explain… his dear wife, the love of his life, is terminally ill, has no quality of life, lives in constant pain and can’t leave her bed.
“He visits her everyday and every single day she tells him she doesn’t want to be here any more. It was clearly breaking his heart.”
The man asked the MP if he supported assisted dying.
“The look of relief when I said yes was palpable, and we shared a moment together,” said Mr Jupp. “And I will never forget that conversation.”
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