| 14 July 2024, Sunday |

Scottish finance minister Kate Forbes to run for country’s leadership

Scottish Finance Minister Kate Forbes announced on Monday that she would participate in the race for the position of Scottish National Party (SNP) leader and first minister, succeeding Nicola Sturgeon.

Since Sturgeon’s abrupt resignation last week, Forbes, who was chosen to represent Scotland in the Scottish Parliament in 2016 and who was appointed finance secretary in 2020, has entered the race three times.

Sturgeon’s abrupt resignation has cast doubt on the SNP’s drive for independence, and the Westminster administration has thwarted her attempts to organize another poll after Scotland rejected independence in a 2014 referendum by a margin of 55% to 45%.

“I can’t sit back and watch our nation thwarted on the road to self determination,” 32-year-old Forbes said in a video posted on Twitter.

“We need a leader who’s bold, brave and energized, fresh faced and ready for new challenges. Somebody who inspires your confidence as an SNP member, and who inspires the confidence of the people of Scotland to vote for a better future. I am that leader.”

The SNP has said it will choose a new leader within six weeks through a ballot of its members, which will close on March 27. Sturgeon will stay on until a successor has been picked.

A fluent Gaelic speaker, Forbes studied history at the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh and worked as an accountant in the banking industry before entering parliament.

Forbes, a Christian, was among senior politicians who urged the Scottish government in 2019 not to rush into gender reform legislation. Sturgeon became embroiled in a row over transgender rights over the divisive bill. It was eventually passed in December but has been blocked by the British government.

Both former minister Ash Regan and health minister Humza Yousaf have declared their intention to vie for Sturgeon’s position.

Two further potential candidates, former party deputy leader and cultural minister Angus Robertson, 53, and deputy first minister John Swinney, 58, have disqualified themselves.

  • Reuters