Forbes devastates Yousaf’s record of SNP leadership’s first television appearances

In her opening remarks at the first televised hustings in the competition, the Treasury Secretary said she was offering a fresh start rather than the continuity offered by the Health Secretary.

“I want to eradicate poverty, tackle the cost of living crisis and reform our NHS. I will do it by building a world-leading green economy, capable of driving growth for generations to come.

“More of the same is not a manifesto – it is an acceptance of mediocrity.”

She then went to the cross-examination department of the STV Hustings and asked Mr Yousaf why he would succeed as First Minister when he had failed in all his other jobs.

READ MORE: Yousaf slams Cherry for sharing ‘disgusting’ Twitter post

After repeatedly stressing that the First Minister’s job required “skills,” she said: “Humza, you’ve had a number of jobs in government.

“You were transport minister and the trains were never on time, when you were justice minister the police were stretched to the breaking point and now as health minister we have record long waits.

“What makes you think you can do a better job as First Minister?”
Mr Yousaf said he had “built new roads and railways”, delivered Queensferry Crossing on budget, “expanded protections for victims of domestic violence” and “delivered the fastest Covid booster program ever”.

Asked if he was the “continuity candidate” and therefore the “no change candidate”, Mr Yousaf suggested the change offered by Ms Forbes was “lurching to the right” and “returning to progressive values”, a contest with her social conservatives views. like the rejection of same-sex marriage.

Ms Forbes also urged Mr Yousaf to explain where he would find the money to pay for the National Care Service, a £1.2billion plan plagued by criticism of its cost and purpose.

“Rhetoric is easy,” she snapped after he promised to deliver the NCS in line with the SNP manifesto but couldn’t explain the budget.

Mr Yousaf has also been goaded by former Minister Ash Regan, the underdog in the race, over his plan to steadily build support for independence.

She said, “You said you weren’t as smart as Nicola Sturgeon … so why do you think you can succeed where she failed?”

He replied: “I want to build on that legacy. It’s not about what Nicola or John dismiss [Swinney] did as you often did in Hustings.”

Ms Regan accused him of “having failed to show otherwise” and asked why he was “likely to veto” Westminster over independence.

“Excuse me I’m the only candidate standing here Ash who said when it comes to Westminster’s Section 35 [veto on gender reform law], I would challenge it. Neither you nor Kate said you would contest that.”

Ms Forbes asked if he had seen any legal counsel suggesting the Scottish Government would win such a legal challenge, adding: “Unlike you, I don’t spoil a fight, regardless of the legal advice.”

Mr Yousaf said their opposition to the Gender Recognition Reform Bill had “clouded their judgement” and that if it were “any other legislation you would be going against the UK Government”.

He said her views on gay marriage also cost her her support in the Yes movement as MSPs deserted her.

“Forget convincing no voters, you can’t even keep yes voters,” he said.

Ms Forbes stressed she had made a “solemn and honest promise to uphold and defend the rights of every Scot”.

Mr Yousaf ridiculed Ms Regan’s plan to declare independence if Yes parties won more than 50 per cent of the vote in an election, saying the UK government would simply ignore it.

He said: “You are not a government that respects international law, not a government that has common decency, they will turn to you and your plan for 50% plus one and tell you where to go.”

He also attacked Ms Forbes’ record after she said she was the only candidate to have fought with Rishi Sunak in his previous role as chancellor and said she fell short of us “a little bit” in negotiations with the Treasury calmly”.

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So far, efforts to find a replacement for Ms. Sturgeon have been spearheaded by SNP characters, who stressed the need for courtesy and camaraderie.

Tonight the format changed, the contestants were given free rein and they took full advantage of it.

The three candidates were also asked whether they would have their competitors for the post of SNP leader in their cabinet if they were First Minister.

Mr Yousaf only said he was “not so presumptuous as to imagine what roles I will start handing out”, although earlier today his supporter Angus Robertson would remain in Cabinet.

Ms Regan said she would put the “best people” in her cabinet but was “extremely non-binding” on who would sit in it.

Ms Forbes said she would “hope there would be roles for both” – although she stressed the need for a “new team”.

She added that there is “room for Humza Yousaf,” but “maybe not healthy.”

On whether Scotland should keep the monarchy independent, Ms Forbes said there were “bigger problems Scotland is facing”.

She added: “I’m pretty relaxed, I would see us as part of the Commonwealth.”

But both Mr Yousaf and Ms Regan declared themselves Republicans.

Mr Yousaf said he would “preserve the monarchy for a period” but hoped “an independent Scotland would be a republic in the future”.

Ms Regan said she would prefer to have an elected head of state.

And she said in the “new circumstances” following the Queen’s death last year, it may be time for the SNP conference to debate whether maintaining the monarchy was still the right policy for the party, “or whether we should move to a policy of having an elected head of state”.

Scottish Tory leader Craig Hoy said: “This is a party in the middle of a civil war – torn from top to bottom by bitter divisions that were hard to stem when candidates began interrogating one another.”

Scottish Labor MP Jackie Baillie added: “All the SNP can offer Scotland is the politically illiterate Ash Regan, the socially and economically conservative Kate Forbes and the dangerously incompetent Humza Yousaf. straight forward I wouldn’t trust these candidates to run a bath, let alone a country.” Forbes devastates Yousaf’s record of SNP leadership’s first television appearances

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