SNP leadership contest: Kate Forbes, Humza Yousaf and Ash Regan confirmed to run as nominations close

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Kate Forbes, Humza Yousaf and Ash Regan have all obtained sufficient backing to have their name put on the SNP leadership ballot

Kate Forbes, Humza Yousaf and Ash Regan will all take part in the SNP leadership contest after securing sufficient backing from party members. The three candidates were the only MSPs to put their names forward for the ballot, with rumours of a surprise entrant in the contest failing to come to fruition.

The three candidates were required to get at least 100 nominations from at least 20 local party branches in order for their names to be included on the ballot. An SNP spokesman said: “With the 12pm deadline now past, we can confirm that all three declared candidates for the leadership of the SNP – Kate Forbes, Ash Regan and Humza Yousaf – have passed the threshold of nominations by at least 100 SNP members drawn from at least 20 SNP branches.”

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It comes after Forbes, Scotland’s finance secretary, came under fire after saying that she would not have voted for equal marriage in 2014. Some MSPs scaled back their support of Forbes, however she has received enough backing to continue.

The ballot for the contest will open at noon on 13 March and will close on 27 March. Forbes, Yousaf and Regan will hit the campaign trail in the coming weeks to drum up support for their push to become the new party leader and First Minister of Scotland.

The contest was called after Nicola Sturgeon made the surprising decision to stand down as leader after eight years in the role. In her resignation speech, she said: “We must reach across the divide in Scottish politics. And my judgement now is that a new leader will be better able to do this.

“Someone about whom the mind of almost everyone in the country is not already made up, for better or worse. Someone who is not subject to quite the same polarised opinions, fair or unfair, as I now am.”

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Speaking of his confirmed nomination, Yousaf said: “The grassroots of the SNP are trusting me to drive forward our independence movement at this important juncture in our party and nation’s history. I will not let you down.

“In the coming days and weeks I will set out more about my plans as your SNP first minister, my ambition for driving forward Scotland’s economy, how we do more to tackle the Tory cost-of- living crisis, and how we use all the talents of the party to win independence.”

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