Humza Yousaf - The new face of Scottish politics

This afternoon the SNP proclaimed Humza Yousaf the victor of its leadership election after a bruising contest that has likely done more harm than good to Scotland's governing party.

Yousaf will succeed Nicola Sturgeon as SNP leader, and Scotland's First Minister, following Sturgeon's announcement last month that she was standing down after more than eight years in the role.

Although she did not achieve independence for Scotland, Sturgeon will be a tough act to follow for Yousaf. She was the leader that oversaw the SNP's transformational landslide victory in the 2015 General Election, and changed the face of British politics by giving the SNP unprecedented influence beyond the Scottish border.

To make an impact as First Minister, Yousaf must maintain the influence Sturgeon secured for the SNP, while succeeding where she fell short on domestic issues like healthcare and the cost of living.

Yousaf will have to work doubly hard to demonstrate credibility on the failing health service, having served as Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care since 2021. He will also need to get to work to repair the damage he helped inflict to achieve the top job through the ruthless leadership contest which exposed deep divisions within the SNP and cost Peter Murrell his position as the party’s Chief Executive.

For now, the formal process of appointing the new First Minister is set to take place on Tuesday, when Sturgeon will tender her resignation to His Majesty the King. A Parliamentary vote will then take place in Holyrood to formally nominate Yousaf as her successor. Yousaf will then be officially be sworn in at the Court of Session on Wednesday, after which his new Cabinet will be unveiled.

Here are the top lines on Scotland's new First Minister.

Humza Yousaf – Leader of the SNP and Scotland’s next First Minister

  • MSP since 2011 (2011-2016 - Glasgow region, 2016 - Glasgow Pollok)
  • First ethnic minority candidate to win a constituency seat in the Scottish Parliament
  • Youngest ever Scottish Government Minister (at 26) in 2012
  • Held various ministerial positions since 2012, including: Minister for External Affairs and International Development (2011 - 2016, Minister for Transport and the Islands, Cabinet Secretary of Justice and Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social care
  • Considered the continuity candidate in the leadership contest as a close ally of Nicola Sturgeon
  • Career politician, working in the Scottish Parliament and SNP Headquarters before running as a candidate