Humza Yousaf has defeated rivals Kate Forbes and Ash Regan to become the leader of the Scottish National Party which means he will almost certainly become Scottish First Minister tomorrow.
The 37-year-old is the first Muslim to lead a major UK party and is set to be confirmed as the first ethnic minority leader of a devolved government on Tuesday.
Yousaf defeated Ms Forbes by 52% to 48% in the second round, with Yousaf receiving 26,032 votes and Forbes 23,890.
During the election campaign Yousaf took several positions which directly contradict his faith – such as saying there is nothing morally wrong about LGBTQ lifestyles or abortion.
Yousaf, who calls himself a “proud Muslim,” also said that his faith will not be the basis on which he legislates or leads.
Speaking after the result, Yousaf said his grandparents had arrived in Scotland in the 1960s barely able to speak a word of English, and would not have believed “in their wildest dreams” that their grandson would one day become first minister of Scotland.
He said: “We should all take pride in the fact that today we have sent a clear message, that your colour of skin, your faith, is not a barrier to leading the country we all call home. From the Punjab to our parliament, this is a journey over generations that reminds us that we should celebrate migrants who contribute so much to our country.”
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He added that Scottish independence would be won “on the doorsteps” and pledged to kickstart a grassroots campaign.
“My solemn commitment to you is that I will kickstart our grassroots, civic-led movement and ensure our drive for independence is in fifth gear. The people of Scotland need independence now more than ever before, and we will be the generation that delivers it.”
His priorities will be to continue to “protect” Scottish people from the “harm” inflicted by the cost of living crisis, to “recover and reform” the NHS and other vital public services, to support the economy and to improve the life chances of people across Scotland.
And he told SNP members he’s had his “fair share of battles with the UK government over the years” – and acknowledged there may be more to come.
“I will work with them, and with other devolved nations constructively, where I can in the best interests of our nation,” he said of Rishi Sunak’s government.