Humza Yousaf latest news: Only a quarter of Scots believe country is heading in the right direction

Humza Yousaf latest news: Only a quarter of Scots believe country is heading in the right direction

Humza Yousaf, the new leader of the SNP, is pictured yesterday after winning the race to succeed Nicola Sturgeon - Andy Buchanan /AFP

Humza Yousaf, the new leader of the SNP, is pictured yesterday after winning the race to succeed Nicola Sturgeon – Andy Buchanan /AFP

Only a quarter of Scots believe the country is heading in the right direction, a new poll has found, as Humza Yousaf prepares to become first minister.

A new survey conducted by Ipsos found 25 per cent of people in Scotland believe the country is on the right path while half – 50 per cent – said things are heading in the wrong direction.

The survey, conducted between March 17-21, found 19 per cent said neither while six per cent said they were unsure of the direction of travel.

The numbers highlight the scale of the challenge facing Mr Humza, the new leader of the SNP, as he prepares to formally takeover from Nicola Sturgeon as first minister following a vote at Holyrood this afternoon.

You can follow the latest updates below. 

08:45 AM

Scottish Greens will back Humza Yousaf at first minister vote

Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “We will be supporting Humza Yousaf today so we can carry on with the Bute House Agreement.”

The Scottish Greens, who agreed the Bute House powersharing deal with the SNP, had signalled that they would not work with defeated leadership candidate Kate Forbes if she was elected as the country’s next first minister.

Ms Slater said: “The Scottish Greens are very glad that we are able to continue to work in a progressive agenda within the Scottish Government.”

08:38 AM

Scottish Tory leader expected to challenge Humza Yousaf at first minister vote

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross is expected to put himself forward in the vote for first minister at Holyrood this afternoon in a symbolic challenge to Humza Yousaf and the SNP.

Asked why he would do so, Mr Ross told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “I think it’s obvious that Humza Yousaf has the wrong priorities for Scotland.

“During the leadership election he focused on independence above everything else and therefore I think it’s right that the people of Scotland hear voices within Parliament who take a different approach and the Scottish Conservatives are very clear that the focus should be on the real priorities of people across Scotland – that’s solving the cost-of-living crisis, enabling our NHS to get back on a stronger footing, improving our economy, our education system, all of those issues were put to the side by Humza Yousaf during the election to become leader of the SNP.”

The election of Mr Yousaf as first minister is viewed as a formality because while the SNP is just a fraction short of having an overall majority at Holyrood it enjoys the support of the Scottish Greens. Between them the two parties have a fairly comfortable majority.

08:33 AM

Labour will need to win over pro-independence voters to boost chances in Scotland, says polling expert

The Labour Party will have to win over more pro-independence voters if it is to make further electoral gains in Scotland, Sir John Curtice has said.

The polling expert told TalkTV: “The vast majority of people who are in favour if independence are voting for the SNP and the vast majority of people who are opposed to independence are not voting for the SNP.

“That said, the Labour Party is the one unionist party that has some ability to appeal to some people who are in favour of independence but are not necessarily going to vote for the SNP.

“The crucial question is whether or not the Labour Party can increase that constituency. I certainly think if Labour’s vote is going to go up above the 30 per cent mark, assuming there isn’t some dramatic collapse in support for independence, they are going to have to try to win over more ‘yes’ supporters.”

08:22 AM

Labour could take 10 seats from SNP if latter’s lead stays at 10 points – Sir John Curtice

Labour could win 10 seats from the SNP at a general election if the latter’s lead remains at about 10 points, a polling expert has suggested.

Sir John Curtice, professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde, said if Labour stays at about 30 per cent of support it could pick up numerous seats from Humza Yousaf’s party.

He told TalkTV: “I think the Labour Party will certainly feel they have an opportunity and they are quite right to feel that way. They are now running at around 30 per cent in Scotland. That leaves them only 10 points behind the SNP.

“The reason why that matters is that kind of level of lead, the Labour Party begins to pick up seats from the SNP. There are around 10 seats at the moment in Scotland which might fall to Labour if the SNP lead across Scotland as a whole is down to 10 points.”

A Redfield & Wilton Strategies poll conducted at the start of March put the SNP on 39 per cent of the vote and Labour in second place on 29 per cent.

08:07 AM

‘We must defend Scottish democracy and devolution’

Humza Yousaf’s campaign manager has said the new SNP leader will seek to “defend democracy” by pressing ahead with controversial gender reforms which have been blocked by the UK Government (you can read the original story here).

Neil Gray, who is also the Scottish culture minister, told Times Radio: “I think there is an important principle at stake here.

“Of course he is going to listen to the legal advice – he has to do that – but there is an important principle at stake which is about the democracy and the democratic mandate given to the Scottish Parliament that must be defended.

“A two-thirds majority passed the Gender Recognition Bill in the Scottish Parliament. MSPs from every single political party supported it, so it is right now that Humza Yousaf – at the first time that section 35 of the Scotland Act has been used – tests that and challenges it, because democracy is at stake.

“We must defend Scottish democracy and devolution. Otherwise, what is the point?”

08:05 AM

Will Forbes and Regan be given jobs in Yousaf administration?

Neil Gray, Humza Yousaf’s campaign manager and an SNP MSP, said there are “conversations to be had” about the shape of the new leader’s Holyrood administration after being asked if defeated leadership hopefuls Kate Forbes and Ash Regan would be offered roles.

Mr Gray told Times Radio: “There are conversations to be had about government going forward and the make-up, the structure and those that are involved in government.

“I’ll leave it to Humza to have those conversations over the coming days.”

08:00 AM

Scottish independence campaign ‘at a tipping point’, says Humza Yousaf ally

The campaign for Scottish independence is now at a “tipping point”, a leading ally of Humza Yousaf said this morning.

Neil Gray, an SNP MSP who served as Mr Yousaf’s campaign manager during the leadership race, said the party will now focus on “re-energising” support for breaking away from the UK.

He set a goal of “getting us to that sustained majority support for independence whereby the process” for securing independence “then takes care of itself”.

He told Times Radio: “We are at a tipping point for independence. All the polls show sometimes ‘yes’ is marginally in the lead, sometimes ‘no’, we are at a tipping point.

“I think what is needed now is for us to finish the updated prospectus [for independence] in government for the party to mobilise behind that and for us to get out as a movement and speak to the people about the need for independence, the urgent need for independence.

“I have spoken about the cost-of-living crisis, the fact that we don’t have all the levers across the economy in order to respond to that and the fact that we have an energy rich country and yet we have people in fuel poverty. That is a dichotomy that we cannot accept any longer. We cannot afford not to be independent.

“So it is about building that movement, re-energising that movement and persuading people of the merits and the need for independence, getting us to that sustained majority support for independence whereby the process then takes care of itself.”

07:56 AM

Poll: Just a quarter of Scots think country is on the right path

Only a quarter of Scots believe the country is heading in the right direction, a new poll has found, as Humza Yousaf prepares to become first minister this afternoon.

A survey by Ipsos found half of adults north of the border felt things in Scotland were going in the wrong direction, with just a quarter saying the country was on the right path.

While 50 per cent said that generally speaking things were heading in the wrong direction and 25 per cent felt they were going in the right direction, 19 per cent said neither and six per cent of respondents were unsure.

The poll was carried out between March 17-21. The right direction/wrong direction numbers were similar to those recorded in Ipsos polls in October 2022 and January 2023.

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