Yousaf insists he has “very open doors” as First Minister

Over the weekend we reported that a group of 15 backbenchers will publish their own policy papers and review and amend government laws.

The group would consist mostly of parliamentarians supporting Kate Forbes in the leadership contest and would be unabashedly pro-business.

The party’s relationship with industry has come under scrutiny in recent weeks, with concerns raised over the deposit return system, the ban on alcohol advertising and highly protected marine areas.

CONTINUE READING: Humza Yousaf faces 15 rebellious SNP MSPs ready to challenge the government

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“The SNP had a legendary discipline in the past where people didn’t even ask questions. That’s changing and I would say that can’t be a bad thing if you get better policy outcomes,” a source told The Herald on Sunday.

On Monday, Mr Yousaf took part in his first official visit as First Minister when he traveled to Ayr Academy to announce an extra £15million for low-income families to have access to school-age childcare in a range of projects across Scotland.

Asked if he was worried about party unity, he told the PA news agency that he wasn’t.

He said: “I read beyond the headline, it seemed to indicate that there were some MSPs who – in their own words – wanted to work constructively with the government to come up with some policy proposals.

“I have a very open door as First Minister. I will be very happy to look at any good policy proposals that come from my own group, be it from the front benches or the back benches. ”

CONTINUE READING: Scots get free childcare for school-age under the new child poverty plan

After polls showed Scottish Labor winning over the SNP, he said it was important not to be “complacent”.

He said: “That’s why I’m here for my first visit, because we want to try to help as many households as possible, particularly low-income households, with childcare and that helps individuals find and stay in work and of course helps it also for the economy.”

During the SNP leadership contest, Mr Yousaf said he would go to court to fight the UK government’s use of Section 35 to block the Gender Recognition Reform Bill.

However, he said he would not do so if the legal council told him such a court case was unwinnable.

Mr Yousaf said: “We are not making legal advice public for a very, very good reason.”

He continued: “This is something that I will be investigating very closely as First Minister.

“But my starting principle has always been that we should challenge this Section 35, this Westminster veto of legislation passed by a majority of the Scottish Parliament.”

Mr Yousaf said he did not believe this case deserved an exception to the convention not to publish government legal advice.

He said: “I don’t think this is an extraordinary circumstance.

“It is important that ministers look at this legal advice.

“I don’t think we should just dismiss this convention, there are good reasons why this legal advice is not made public.”

CONTINUE READING: Scotland’s deficit in 2023–24 has been revised from £9bn to closer to £18bn.

Reflecting on his early days as First Minister, he said they were “pretty hectic but memorable, historic” and “surreal”.

He added: “I managed to feed the ducks and play in the park with my daughter yesterday, which made me very, very happy.

“So a little bit of normalcy on a pretty hectic schedule.” Yousaf insists he has “very open doors” as First Minister

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