SNP leadership candidates Humza Yousaf, Kate Forbes and Ash Regan clash in a grumpy TV debate
The three SNP leadership candidates clashed in a sulky televised debate tonight when they took personal offense in the competition to succeed Nicola Sturgeon.
Humza Yousaf, Kate Forbes and Ash Regan exchanged a series of punches that turned the tide into an hour-long mangle at each other’s positions on various issues.
Amid ugly debates over Scottish independence and gender identity reforms, Mr Yousaf has been disparagingly branded as a “continuity candidate” and a “no-change candidate”.
He is widely regarded as the front runner in the race to succeed Ms Sturgeon as First Secretary and has been endorsed by a number of SNP stars.
But Ms Forbes tonight broke Mr Yousaf’s ministerial record from his days as transport minister, justice minister and now Scottish health minister.
He hit back at Ms Forbes – whose leadership campaign has stalled amid a series of car-crash TV squabbles over her socially conservative views – by suggesting her election as party leader would result in the SNP “tumbling to the right”.
Humza Yousaf, Kate Forbes and Ash Regan exchanged a series of punches, resulting in hours of mangle at each other’s positions on various issues
The three SNP leadership candidates clashed over their plans for Scottish independence and gender identity reforms
Mr Yousaf attacked both Ms Forbes and Ms Regan for failing to commit to challenging Westminster’s blocking of the Scottish Government’s controversial gender identity legislation.
Meanwhile, Ms Regan – the only lead candidate not currently in the Scottish Cabinet – claimed the SNP was “lost” and admitted there had been “no progress” on independence in recent years.
Today’s head-to-head was the first live televised debate in the SNP leadership competition and was hosted by STV at the channel’s Glasgow headquarters.
Ms Regan claimed that an SNP majority in any future election would represent a “democratic mandate” for Scottish independence.
In a swipe at Ms Sturgeon’s record as First Secretary, she said: “Despite the worst British governments ever, there has been no progress towards independence in recent years.
“We used to encourage support for independence through smart governance, and it has worked.
“In any future election, we will make it absolutely clear that a majority vote for the SNP will be a democratic mandate for independence.”
Mr Yousaf, the Scottish Health Secretary, has been derogatorily branded as a “candidate for continuity” and a “candidate for no change”.
It has been suggested that the election of Ms Forbes as party leader would cause the SNP to “lurch to the right”.
Ms Regan claimed the SNP was “lost” and admitted there had been “no progress” on independence in recent years
Mr Yousaf pledged to take support for Scottish independence “to new heights”.
He also boasted that he was the “only candidate” willing to challenge Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s use of a Section 35 order to prevent the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill from coming into force.
Mr Yousaf is a close ally of Ms Sturgeon and Ms Forbes, Scotland’s finance secretary, attacked the couple when she insisted that “more of the same” in the SNP is “an acceptance of mediocrity”.
“It’s time for change, continuity is not enough – tonight I’m offering Scotland a fresh start,” she said, pledging to lead a “new generation”.
Who are the SNP leadership candidates?
The 37-year-old is the current Scottish Health Secretary and previously held the Letter of Justice.
In his current role, he has been criticized for the NHS crisis, which has seen treatment times increasing and discharges delayed.
The 32-year-old is the current Scottish Finance Minister.
She returned early from maternity leave to enter the SNP leadership race.
Ms Forbes impressed her party when she presented the Scottish Government’s budget just hours after taking office in early 2020.
But her socially conservative views on same-sex marriage, abortion, and gender reform have drawn scrutiny and criticism.
She is a member of the Free Church of Scotland, sometimes known as the “Wee Frees”.
The 48-year-old is a former local safety minister in the Scottish government.
She is best known for stepping down from that role because of her opposition to Nicola Sturgeon’s controversial gender identity reforms.
She also attacked Mr Yousaf over his tenure as minister, asking him: “You were transport minister and the trains were never on time, when you were justice minister the police were strained to the breaking point and now as health ministers we have a record of high wait times – what makes you think you can do a better job as First Minister?’
Mr Yousaf later hit back at Ms Forbes by claiming her own personal opposition to the Gender Recognition Reform Bill (Scotland) had “clouded her judgement” by refusing to challenge Westminster’s blocking of the legislation.
He also noted how “many people, particularly from our LGBTQ community, say they wouldn’t vote for independence” if Ms Forbes were chair, after setting out her personal stance on issues like same-sex marriage last month.
But Ms Forbes suggested that Mr Yousaf “is spoiled for a fight regardless of legal advice” over the constitutional row between Edinburgh and London over Scotland’s gender identity reforms.
When all three candidates were asked if they would keep the monarchy in an independent Scotland, Ms Regan said that in the “new circumstances” following the death of the Queen, it may be time for the SNP to debate whether to keep it of the monarchy is still the right policy.
Ms Forbes said there were “bigger problems for Scotland” while Mr Yousaf said he would “retain the monarchy for a period of time” but added: “I would hope that an independent Scotland would be a republic in the future. ”
Last month it was confirmed that all three of Ms Forbes, Ms Regan and Mr Yousaf have reached the threshold to formally enter the leadership race.
About 100,000 SNP members can start voting for their preferred candidate on March 13th.
Voting will then close at 12:00 noon on March 27 and the result is expected later today.
The first contested SNP leadership election in nearly 20 years was sparked when Ms Sturgeon dramatically announced her intention to step down last month.
Mr Yousaf is the bookmakers’ favorite to be chosen to succeed Ms Sturgeon as SNP leader and First Minister.
The Scottish Health Secretary previously received a huge boost when Angus Robertson, the SNP’s former Westminster leader, gave him his backing.
“I have no doubt that it has to be Humza,” said Mr Robertson, the Scottish Government’s constitutional secretary.
Mr Robertson was widely cited as Ms Sturgeon’s successor but later ruled out a leadership offer as he has two young children.
The decision by leading SNP figures to support Mr Yousaf has led to attacks from rivals claiming he has the SNP “party machine” behind him.
Edinburgh South West MP Joanna Cherry, who supports Ms Regan, claimed her candidate was making “progress” and warned it would be “very wrong to write her off”.
“It’s no secret that the party machine is behind Humza and not Kate and Ash,” she added.
Ms Forbes had started the leadership contest as the apparent front-runner, but her campaign soon ran into trouble when faced with questions about her socially conservative views.
In a series of car crash interviews, the Treasury Secretary admitted she would have voted against both gay marriage and Ms Sturgeon’s gender identity reform.
The 32-year-old, a member of the Free Church of Scotland, also branded premarital sex as “wrong”.
Early polls of SNP members had put Ms Forbes ahead of Mr Yousaf, but she now seems to have slipped behind her rival – Ms Regan is in third place.
https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/uncategorized/snp-leadership-candidates-humza-yousaf-kate-forbes-and-ash-regan-clash-in-bad-tempered-tv-debate/ SNP leadership candidates Humza Yousaf, Kate Forbes and Ash Regan clash in a grumpy TV debate