Sturgeon’s successor to be announced as SNP leadership race comes to a close

Following a contentious five-week leadership race, the SNP’s next leader will finally be chosen this Monday afternoon. 

Humza Yousaf, the health secretary, Kate Forbes, the finance secretary, and former community safety minister Ash Regan are all vying to succeed Nicola Sturgeon.

The First Minister announced in February that she would step down after more than eight years in office once her replacement was chosen.

“In my head and in my heart, I know that time is now, that it is right for me, for my party and for the country. And so today I am announcing my intention to step down as First Minister and leader of my party,” Ms Sturgeon said as she announced her resignation on 15 February.

Mr Yousaf, Ms Forbes, and Ms Regan have participated in approximately 16 hustings as part of the competition.

SNP members have until midday to vote for their new leader – and, subject to Holyrood approval, Scotland’s next first minister.

The winner of the leadership race will be announced at around 2 p.m. on Monday at Edinburgh’s BT Murrayfield stadium.

The next first minister will be chosen in a vote in Holyrood on Tuesday.

The SNP’s leadership election has been a tumultuous time, with acrimonious clashes between candidates, infighting, and the abrupt resignation of chief executive and Ms Sturgeon’s husband, Peter Murrell, in the aftermath of a controversy over the transparency of SNP membership numbers.

In February, the party strongly denied a “malicious and wholly inaccurate” Sunday Mail report that 30,000 members had left the party.

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However, figures released as part of the SNP leadership election on Thursday confirmed that the party’s membership had indeed fallen by 31,698 members since 2021.

Following the announcement of the first two candidates, Mr Yousaf and Ms Regan, the SNP leadership race was marred by allegations that the party’s establishment was attempting to influence the contest.