Scotland’s First Minister Calls It Quits

( – Humza Yousaf became Scotland’s first minister in March 2023. He previously served in the country’s parliament, becoming the first Muslim to do so. A little over a year after taking the job as the island’s leader, Yousaf resigned from office.

Trouble Brewing

Yousaf’s resignation appeared to be inevitable after a battle erupted between the Scottish National Party and the Scottish Green Party. The factions clashed over transgender rights and climate goals. Four days before he resigned, Yousaf abruptly ended a power-sharing agreement with the Scottish Green Party on Thursday, April 25.

The two parties have governed together since 2021. Yousaf’s decision infuriated Lorna Slater, a co-leader of the Greens. She lashed out and said it was an “act of cowardice” and declared Yousaf couldn’t be trusted any longer.

The Scottish Conservatives pressed for a vote of no confidence against the first minister. The Scottish Labour Party, an opposition party, signaled its support for the vote. Later that day, Scottish Conservatives Leader Douglas Ross announced his party was filing a motion of no confidence.

In order to remain in power, Yousaf would have needed the support of the Greens or The Alba Party. The Greens announced it would not support him in a no-confidence vote. MSP Ash Regan posted on X/Twitter the next day and laid out what she’d need to support Yousaf. Her demands included the abandonment of the SNP’s pro-trans policies.

First Minister Resigns

After days of reporting that the first minister was going to quit, he finally did. On Monday, April 29, Yousaf announced he was resigning from office. The first minister’s decision threw his party into chaos. It’s the second time in two years that the SNP had a change in leadership.

In his resignation announcement, Yousaf said he “underestimated the level of hurt and upset” he caused the Greens. He explained that he believed the relationship would only be repaired with someone else in the leadership position. He intended to continue in the position until a new leader was elected to replace him.

The fight with the Greens wasn’t the only issue for the SNP and first minister. The party, which has been in power since 2014, has been embroiled in an embezzlement scandal since First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stepped down in 2023. Her husband, Peter Murrell, was arrested and authorities charged him with embezzlement of funds. The theft reportedly occurred while he was the party’s chief executive. Sturgeon was also arrested but wasn’t charged.

A new leader will be chosen for the SNP in the coming days.

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