SNP leadership election: how to watch the results - when will the new First Minister be announced?

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Humza Yousaf, Kate Forbes and Ash Regan will find out which of them will become the next First Minister of Scotland at a special event in Edinburgh.

As Nicola Sturgeon's eight-year reign at the top of the SNP comes to an end, eyes are turning to who could replace her as First Minister of Scotland.

Humza Yousaf, Kate Forbes and Ash Regan have all thrown their names in the ring to be the next SNP leader and First Minister, braving an often testy and fiery campaign trail. The leadership election process has laid bare some unforgiving truths for the party.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The race began with furore over Forbes' views on same-sex marriage, while it descended into an own goal for the SNP revealing that 30,000 members had left the party. The membership numbers and the subsequent allegations that media representatives had lied about number prior to their release led to the resignation of high profile members, including chief executive Peter Murrell.

However, the end of the contest will bring with it a new leader and a new chapter for the SNP. The job of either Yousaf, Forbes or Regan will be to unite the party - and the country - going forward.

But will the historic moment be livestreamed, and where will you be able to watch it? Here's everything you need to know.

Humza Yousaf, Kate Forbes and Ash Regan will find out who has won the SNP leadership election on 27 March. (Credit: Getty Images)Humza Yousaf, Kate Forbes and Ash Regan will find out who has won the SNP leadership election on 27 March. (Credit: Getty Images)
Humza Yousaf, Kate Forbes and Ash Regan will find out who has won the SNP leadership election on 27 March. (Credit: Getty Images) | Getty Images

When will the results of the SNP leadership election be announced?

The ballot for the election will close at 12pm on Monday 27 March. The winner will be announced at 2pm.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

How can I watch the SNP leadership election results?

The results event will be streamed from Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, meaning that those interested can tune in to watch live.

Livestreams will be available to watch on SNP social media accounts, including the Twitter page of the party.

What do we know about the candidates?

Yousaf is considered by many as the most obvious choice for the role, and while Sturgeon has not publicly announced who she is backing, it is widely believed that the MSP for Glasgow Pollok is her favourite. However, as the Health Secretary, he has also come under fire over the recent crisis in the NHS - which has seen a significant increase in wait times for A&E, hospital beds, and cancer treatment.

If he becomes the next leader of the SNP and new First Minister of Scotland, he has said he will prioritise tackling child poverty with “progressive taxes”, “defending” Scotland’s democracy, and dealing with the “Tory cost of living crisis”. He will also look to push ahead with the independence movement, although has said he does not agree with Sturgeon’s previous plans to use the next election as a “de-facto referendum” on the topic.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Minister for Health and Social Care Humza Yousaf before the start of First Minster’s Questions (FMQs) in the main chamber of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. Picture date: Thursday March 23, 2023. Credit: PAMinister for Health and Social Care Humza Yousaf before the start of First Minster’s Questions (FMQs) in the main chamber of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. Picture date: Thursday March 23, 2023. Credit: PA
Minister for Health and Social Care Humza Yousaf before the start of First Minster’s Questions (FMQs) in the main chamber of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. Picture date: Thursday March 23, 2023. Credit: PA | PA

Meanwhile, Forbes was once the favourite to win the contest - but fell behind after she voiced her controversial views on gay marriage. The MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch admitted that, had she been in government when the legalisation of gay marriage was debated in Holyrood back in 2014, she would have voted against it.

A furore followed - prompting Forbes to apologise for the “hurt” she had caused and insisting that despite her personal views, she would not attempt to row back any laws. This however did not stop some of her early supporters - such as public finance minister Tom Arthur, minister for children Clare Haughey, and health committee convener Gillian Martin - withdrawing their backing.

In terms of her political track record, Forbes has widely been seen as a competent Finance Secretary, and has been lauded for starting out in the key ministerial role at just 29 and becoming the first woman to deliver the Scottish Budget. In her leadership bid video, Forbes described herself as “bold”, “fresh-faced”, and “ready for new challenges”, and said she could offer the “strong” and “competent” leadership that would deliver independence.

SNP leadership candidate Kate Forbes. Credit: PASNP leadership candidate Kate Forbes. Credit: PA
SNP leadership candidate Kate Forbes. Credit: PA | PA

Regan is widely seen as the outlier candidate, since she has held more junior government roles than her opponents. Her early days in Scottish Parliament saw her given positions such as parliamentary liaison officer for the culture and tourism department, before she was given the role of community safety minister in 2018 following a cabinet reshuffle under Sturgeon.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Regan retained the role until 2022, before making a few headlines when she resigned after stating her opposition to the SNP’s plans for the Gender Recognition Reform Bill.

Launching her bid, she stressed the need for unity in the SNP, following the public debates amongst party members over such issues. She said that the SNP had “lost its way” in the past few years, and highlighted her intention to re-focus its attention on independence.

In a subtle jibe at her former boss, Regan told her supporters: “I respect everything that my predecessors have achieved since 2007, but recently we have lost our way. Under my leadership we will re-establish our track record, we will reform our team, we will reiterate the vision of an independent country with parity of esteem in the world.”

SNP leadership candidate Ash Regan takes part in an SNP leadership debate, at Mansfield Traquair in Edinburgh. Picture date: Tuesday March 14, 2023. Credit: PASNP leadership candidate Ash Regan takes part in an SNP leadership debate, at Mansfield Traquair in Edinburgh. Picture date: Tuesday March 14, 2023. Credit: PA
SNP leadership candidate Ash Regan takes part in an SNP leadership debate, at Mansfield Traquair in Edinburgh. Picture date: Tuesday March 14, 2023. Credit: PA | PA

Who is favourite to win the SNP leadership election?

Currently, Yousaf is the bookies' favourite to win the election and become the next party leader and First Minister of Scotland. According to the latest odds from Betfair, the Health Secretary, at the time of writing, has odds of 2/13.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Forbes has remained close to Yousaf in the odds for the majority of the election trail, but is still behind at 5/1. However, she could still take the win from Yousaf.

Trailing farther behind at 20/1 is Regan. The former community safety minister has struggled to keep up with the better-known names of Yousaf and Forbes throughout her campaign, but has still picked up support and traction from some SNP members.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.