Humza Yousaf elected as SNP leader – Northern Isles MP responds

27 Mar 2023

Responding to news that Humza Yousaf has been elected as the new leader of the SNP, Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael said:

“First of all we have to acknowledge a new milestone with the first ethnic minority leader of the SNP – something that everyone can welcome.

“Island communities will rightly see this as a chance for some change from Holyrood. We need positive action on contentious issues like fair ferry funding, the future of farm and croft support and a rethink on the implementation of Highly Protected Marine Areas for fishing, and the Deposit Return Scheme. Now is the time, too, for proper engagement from the Scottish Government on the fixed links campaign for Shetland.

“Humza Yousaf’s in-tray will be stacked with challenges, and we all have to hope he may now rise to the occasion, even in his eleventh year in government.

“It was clearly a bitter and bruising campaign and the result shows that the SNP is split right down the middle. All the efforts of the party establishment to corral members could only deliver Humza Yousaf the narrowest victory, with 30% refusing to even vote. That leaves him a weakened figure before he even starts.

“Kate Forbes spent the campaign trashing the SNP’s record in government and Yousaf’s role as a minister – and it turns out that half the party agreed with her. In the choice between the extreme and the incompetent, even loyal SNP members were holding their nose.

“Right now we need leadership that can put the basics of government first, not more infighting and game-playing. The early signs do not look good.”

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