Humza Yousaf blasted for ‘grave mistake’

Douglas Ross slams Humza Yousaf's record whilst in office

Humza Yousaf has been blasted by a former SNP deputy leader for making a “grave mistake” by letting leadership rival Kate Forbes go from his Cabinet. Jim Sillars also urged the new Scottish First Minister to move on from the “failed policies” of Nicola Sturgeon.

Mr Yousaf effectively demoted Ms Forbes, who served as finance secretary under Ms Sturgeon’s administration, by offering her the post of rural affairs secretary which she turned down.

But Mr Sillars said that Ms Forbes is “one of the most able people” to have entered the Scottish Parliament.

The former SNP MP added: “So to dispose of her was a grave mistake.”

Mr Sillars also expressed concerns that Mr Yousaf will not move on from the “failed policies” of his predecessor as he slammed the coalition with the Scottish Greens.

He told the Daily Record: “My anxiety is he will be the continuity First Minister and nothing substantially will change from the failed policies of Nicola Sturgeon.

“The formation of his Cabinet and junior ministerial doesn’t fill me with a great deal of confidence.

“The fact the Greens continue to be part of the coalition is depressing and I think is damaging over time to the SNP itself.

“I think one of the biggest mistakes was taking them into coalition – and the second biggest mistake was to keep them in the coalition.”

Mr Yousaf was last week unveiled as the winner of the SNP leadership race.

Ms Forbes narrowly missed out on the top job herself, taking 48 percent of the vote to Mr Yousaf’s 52 percent in the second round, after Ash Regan came third.

The former Scottish finance secretary now returns to the backbenches and threatens the Scottish First Minister’s chances of being able to reunite a party that felt the full impact of a bitter leadership contest.

The race to replace Ms Sturgeon, who announced her shock resignation after eight years in office, was marked by acrimonious clashes during live TV debates and hustings events.

Even the SNP’s interim chief executive Mike Russell admitted the party is in “a tremendous mess”.

The chaos has sent the party’s poll ratings plunging to the delight of Labour and the Conservatives who hope to gain seats in Scotland at the next general election.

The latest polling by Redfield and Wilton shows the SNP’s lead for the next general election has been slashed to just five points as Labour closes the gap.

And in the latest crisis to grip the party, Ms Sturgeon’s husband Peter Murrell was today arrested in a police investigation into the SNP’s finances.

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