Sturgeon denies SNP split in ‘civil war’ after Mhairi Black warning

“I don’t think there is any prospect of a split in the SNP,” the First Minister said.

She spoke after SNP Westminster Deputy Leader Mhairi Black said there could be a split over Kate Forbes becoming the next First Minister.

Ms Black heavily criticized Ms Forbes early in the race after the finance secretary said she was opposed to same-sex marriages, in line with her devout Christian beliefs.

Speaking on The Bunker podcast, the Paisley MP has now claimed Ms Forbes’ socially conservative views have been “damaging” to the party.

Asked if Ms Forbes, who becomes SNP leader, would split the party, Ms Black said: “Frankly, to tell you the truth, I don’t know. It’s a lot of waiting and seeing what happens.

“I wouldn’t want to risk that, that’s why I support Humza.”

READ MORE: Mhairi Black warns SNP could split if Kate becomes Forbes leader

The SNP has already partially split over personalities.

In 2021, former leader Alex Salmond formed his Alba party after falling out with Ms Sturgeon, taking with him many SNP supporters and activists.

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross cited Ms Black’s comment on FMQs, as well as Ms Forbes’ suggestion in Tuesday’s STV Hustings, that the Government’s record was “mediocre”.

He claimed the SNP was now in a “civil war”.

He said: “Kate Forbes was Nicola Sturgeon’s right-hand man, handpicked by the First Secretary to rise quickly through the ranks. But now she has destroyed the government files.

“Nicola Sturgeon may expect me to describe her government’s record as appalling, but she cannot have expected her own Treasury Secretary to brand this SNP government as mediocre.

“Nicola Sturgeon divided Scotland, now her departure is dividing the SNP.

“But as the SNP navigates a civil war, Scotland’s real priorities are being ignored.

“This divided and distracted party is not providing the Scots with the healthcare service they deserve.”

Speaking to the media after the FMQS, Ms Sturgeon was asked about Ms Black’s comment and whether the SNP was at civil war.

She said, “No, I don’t think so. We have a democratic election.

“I appreciate — and this is not meant as a superficial comment — that we’ve had a few election campaigns for deputy leadership in the SNP in recent years, but it’s been almost 20 years since there’s been a leadership election. People aren’t used to it.

“But it is a democratic election and you have to accept that.

“I really didn’t see Mhairi’s comments. I don’t want to comment on anything that might be taken out of context, but I don’t think there is any prospect of a SNP split.

“I think the SNP is conducting a democratic contest and once that contest is decided, they will stand behind whoever emerges victorious.”

READ MORE: Forbes Favorite Contestant in SNP Leadership Race With Public

At the urging of Ms Black, who has not similarly denied a split, the First Minister said: “One of the wonderful things about Mhairi Black and she’s someone I have, you know, a lot and a great deal of respect of affection for… me Dear Mhairi Black.

“But one of her many qualities is that she just tells it like that, she speaks directly.

“I did not see it [her comments] so I don’t want to comment further.

“I’ll speak for myself and I think I’ve given you the answers that might be predictable to you, but it happens to be the answers I’m giving.” Sturgeon denies SNP split in ‘civil war’ after Mhairi Black warning

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