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John Swinney confirmed as new SNP leader and likely first minister

06 May 2024 4 minute read
John Swinney speaks during a press conference at the Grassmarket Community Project in Edinburgh, where he confirmed he is running to succeed Humza Yousaf as both SNP leader and Scotland’s next first minister. Photo Jane Barlow/PA Wire

John Swinney is expected to be Scotland’s next first minister, after he emerged as the only candidate to stand to be the SNP’s new leader.

After nominations for the post closed, the former Scottish deputy first minister was confirmed as the only person to put themselves forward to succeed Humza Yousaf.


Mr Swinney will now face a vote at Holyrood later this week, where it is likely he will become the Scottish Parliament’s nominated candidate to be the country’s seventh first minister.

It comes just a week after Mr Yousaf announced he was stepping down as both SNP leader and Scottish First Minister, after his decision to tear up his party’s powersharing deal with the Greens at Holyrood left him facing a vote of confidence.


The SNP said in a statement: “The SNP’s nomination process closed at noon today (Monday May 6).

“The party’s national secretary, Lorna Finn, has subsequently confirmed John Swinney MSP as the new SNP Leader.

“The SNP Leader will deliver a speech later today.”

Confirmation of Mr Swinney’s appointment as party leader comes 25 years to the day after the first elections to the Scottish Parliament – with Mr Swinney one of only three MSPs to have held the same seat at Holyrood continuously since then.

While Mr Yousaf’s downfall was sparked by his decision to terminate the powersharing deal the SNP had had with the Scottish Greens, the smaller pro-independence party urged Mr Swinney not to ditch the “progressive” agenda that had been enshrined as part of that arrangement.

Scottish Green co-leader Patrick Harvie said the party’s seven MSPs would meet to discuss how they would vote in the ballot for first minister.


Mr Harvie stated: “We are committed to delivering on our vision of a fairer, greener and more equal Scotland, and are open to talks with John Swinney and his team about how we can work together to make that happen.”

He added: “Scotland needs a period of stable government. Mr Swinney knows that if he is to have our support then it must be on the basis of progressive policies that help us to tackle the climate crisis and build a fairer and more equal future.”

The Green MSP added: “There are a lot of important policies already on their way to delivery as a result of the Bute House Agreement, including better rights for tenants and rent controls, transforming the way we heat our homes and a watertight ban on conversion therapy.

“We remain utterly committed to these policies and will oppose any move away from them or steps to dilute them.”

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross meanwhile urged Mr Swinney to “govern for all of Scotland by abandoning his relentless push for independence”.

Mr Ross insisted his party would seek to “hold John Swinney to account when he lets the Scottish people down – just as we’ve done with Humza Yousaf”.

But the Conservative added: “It’s difficult to see how he can be the fresh start Scotland needs, when he’s the ultimate continuity candidate.

“John Swinney was joined at the hip with the disgraced Nicola Sturgeon and his fingerprints are all over her numerous policy failures and cover-ups.”

With Mr Swinney having led the SNP previously between 2000 and 2004, Mr Ross went on to question if a “failed former leader from two decades ago – who, as education secretary, sent Scotland plummeting down international league tables” was the best person to lead the country.

He claimed: “With John Swinney at the helm, the SNP will double down on their independence obsession – the one issue they agree on – and ignore the real priorities of the Scottish people, such as fixing our ailing public services and growing the economy.”

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Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
15 days ago

Congratulations to John Swinney.
Now the work begins to repair the SNP relationship with the Green Party.

Remember, The key issues are Independence as a sovereign nation.
Scotland (and Cymru) has a right to be an independent from the UK.
Environmental Policies including the phasing out of fossil fuels.
To join the European Union as a new free European country.
To join the United Nations.
To have its own currency (until deciding on the Euro).
To help Cymru Wales to become independent and free from the UK.

Morfudd ap Haul
Morfudd ap Haul
15 days ago

We voted to come out of EU.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
15 days ago

The Westminster/English establishment including the Murdoch media have tried tooth & nail to stop independence and to discredit the SNP as a government. SNP First Minister John Swinney will not only bring his vast experience in office, an air of gravitas, but also political stability needed. He will also hold out an olive branch to the pro-independence Scottish Greens and Alba party to restore his government’s majority because it’s two years until the next Scottish parliament elections and no doubt treacherous Scottish Labour , Conservatives and Liberal Democrats with their unholy pact are waiting in the wing to destroy any… Read more »

Rhddwen y Sais
Rhddwen y Sais
15 days ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

The man with experience and gravitas leads Alba.

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
15 days ago

He’s a Yesterday Man

15 days ago


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