Humza Yousaf launches bid to become Scottish First Minister

Humza Yousef. Pic: Scottish government

Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf has announced that he will stand to succeed Nicola Sturgeon as SNP leader and Scotland’s First Minister.

Announcing his leadership bid in The Daily Record, Mr Yousaf, 37, said he had been through a “rollercoaster of emotions” since Sturgeon announced her resignation last week after eight years.

He said: “You’ve got to put yourself forward if you think you’re the best person for the job. And I do. This is the top job in the country, and it needs somebody who has experience.”

Yousaf said he would use his experience in cabinet to continue fighting for equality, and would “reach across the divide” to unite his party and the country.

The Glasgow Pollok MSP pledged to fight against the UK Government’s attempts to “overstep” on Scottish legislation, pointing to Westminster’s block of the gender recognition reform bill earlier this year.

The winner of the race is due to be announced on March 27.

Mr Yousaf was born and raised in Glasgow and in his youth volunteered as the media spokesperson for the International Development charity Islamic Relief.

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He studied Politics at Glasgow University and while there launched an initiative providing food packages for asylum seekers in Glasgow, and was also active in the campaign against the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

He started his political career as the Office Manager for Bashir Ahmad MSP, the first ethnic minority MSP to be elected to the Scottish Parliament. He continued to work for various MSPs in the Scottish Parliament including Anne McLaughlin MSP and Nicola Sturgeon.

He first became an MSP in 2011 and was appointed to the Scottish Government in 2012 as the Minister for External Affairs and International Development – the youngest person to be appointed to the Scottish Government and the first ethnic minority to be appointed.

He played an active role in the 2014 Scottish Independence Campaign as a Senior Organiser in Glasgow for the SNP.

In 2018 he was promoted to Cabinet as Justice Secretary and after the 2021 Election he became Health Secretary.

On a personal level, he is married with two children.

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