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Scottish Government to face Holyrood vote of no confidence

30 Apr 2024 4 minute read
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar. Photo Dominic Lipinski PA Images

A no confidence motion against the Scottish Government will be heard in Holyrood on Wednesday, it has been confirmed.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar announced his intention to push ahead with the vote to unseat the SNP as the governing party.

It follows a tumultuous week for Humza Yousaf after his abrupt ending of the Bute House Agreement saw him announce his resignation as First Minister.

While it is unlikely the motion will pass – as the SNP and Greens are unlikely to vote for it – all Scottish ministers would be compelled to stand down if it is voted through, with parliament given 28 days to appoint a new First Minister, failing which, a snap election would be called.

The Tories and Liberal Democrats are likely to back the Labour motion but it would likely fail to get the votes required.

The Tories withdrew their own motion against Mr Yousaf’s leadership after he announced his intention to resign.


However, speaking to the PA news agency on Tuesday, Mr Sarwar said he wanted to use the motion to highlight the need for a Holyrood election following the turmoil in the SNP.

He said the “genie was out of the bottle” for the SNP, adding: “I think this is a dysfunctional, chaotic, divided political party.”

In a meeting of Holyrood’s parliamentary bureau on Tuesday, the Labour motion against the Government was confirmed for Wednesday afternoon.

Arguing the Government was “incompetent” and could not be saved by a new leader, Mr Sarwar said: “We will not be withdrawing the motion.

“I think the Greens and the SNP obviously have already made it clear they would not support such a motion but the principle of that motion still stands.

“I have no confidence in this SNP Government.”

He said pressing on with the motion of no confidence despite it being unlikely to pass parliament was a “point of principle”.

Mr Sarwar also said the decision on Scotland’s new political leader should be put to the public.

He said: “We also want to highlight the democratic deficit as they themselves described it when they were talking about Westminster and the Conservatives.


Mr Sarwar said he was “desperate” for a Scottish election alongside a Westminster one, which will be held later this year, adding his party was “ready for elections”.

Greens MSP Gillian Mackay has said the confidence vote was a tool to “embarrass” Mr Yousaf further, and accused Labour of “parliamentary game-playing”.

She said: “Like the withdrawn Tory motion, the Labour one has clearly been overtaken by events. Pursuing it would achieve nothing, and would simply mean more parliamentary game-playing.

“Labour MSPs have spent the last few days saying the government needs to get back to running the country, so why do they want to waste the valuable time of the Scottish Parliament, staff and MSPs by carrying on with this charade when it has no chance of passing?”

Ms Mackay added: “We bear no personal animosity to the First Minister or the SNP, and, as Scottish Greens, are already getting back to business.”

‘Job done’

Meanwhile, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross declared “job done” as he announced the intention to withdraw his party’s motion of no confidence in Mr Yousaf.

Instead, Mr Ross said Holyrood should hear from the Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain KC on the Post Office Horizon scandal during the time provisionally set aside for their motion on Wednesday.

He said: “I’m delighted that the Scottish Conservative motion of no confidence in Humza Yousaf achieved its purpose by forcing him to resign.

“While, on a personal level, I wish him well for the future, he was a disaster as First Minister and it’s in Scotland’s interests that he goes.

“The next goal for my party is to see off this feuding, failing SNP government and switch the focus away from their independence obsession and on to the public’s real priorities – such as growing the economy and improving Scotland’s ailing public services.

“As it’s job done in terms of Humza Yousaf, there’s no longer any need for us to press ahead with a debate on our no confidence motion.”

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robin campbell
robin campbell
14 days ago

Sarwar is even less popular in Scotland than Ross. The default argument by the shameful Unionists acting as one is that the SNP should get back to bread and butter issues instead of concentrating on independence. Is every minute spent in Holyrood taken up with motions on independence? If I’m right there have been doctors’ strikes in Cymru and England but not in Scotland. The argument for independence is an argument to give Scotland the autonomy to develop a fairer society.

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