Humza Yousaf elected Leader of SNP

Image Credit: SNP

Humza Yousaf has been elected leader of the SNP (Scottish National Party).

Following his victory in the leadership race, Yousaf was appointed First Minister of Scotland on 29th March. Notably, Yousaf is the first Muslim and first Scottish Asian to serve in the position, and also the youngest Scottish FM to date.

The 37 year-old began his political career while studying at the University of Glasgow, where he was involved in the Muslim Students Association and Students' Representative Council, as reported by Sky News. Economic issues facing young people and students are expected to represent key areas of policy concern for his administration.

Yousaf now faces a difficult period for the Scottish independence movement, with the cost-of-living crisis and NHS capacity also expected to represent key policy challenges for his administration in Holyrood. The new FM has been perceived by many in the Scottish press as distancing himself from his predecessor, Nicola Sturgeon, whose husband was recently arrested amid allegations of financial impropriety.

According to The Irish Times, Jackie Baillie, deputy leader of Scottish Labour, has urged Sturgeon and Yousaf to "state 'what they knew and when' about the SNP’s finances." The allegations are expected to create a challenge for Yousaf in the early days of his administration.

A recent "Politics in Depth" piece in The Times has reported that support for independence in Scotland currently stands at 48%, however, the article argues that Irish reunification is currently a more likely prospect. The SNP is currently the largest party in Scotland, with the majority of both Scottish seats in the House of Commons in Westminster, and seats in the Scottish parliament. However, the party faces clear challenges to its credibility, as the new FM struggles to calm a tense political situation. The current tension in Scotland is taking place alongside an ongoing post-Brexit political deadlock in Northern Ireland, and a broader cost-of-living crisis throughout the United Kingdom.