Scotland’s Leader Humza Yousaf Resigns, Opening Door for Labour Party in Upcoming Election

The SNP's popularity has waned after nearly two decades of governance, exacerbated by a funding scandal and Sturgeon's resignation as leader last year.

Scotland’s leader Humza Yousaf tendered his resignation on Monday, paving the way for the UK opposition Labour Party to potentially regain traction in its once strongholds in Scotland ahead of an anticipated national election later this year.

Yousaf steps down from his roles as head of the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) and first minister of Scotland’s devolved government following a tumultuous week marked by the dissolution of a coalition agreement with the Green Party.

Facing an impending vote of no-confidence, Yousaf acknowledged the need for rebuilding relations across political lines, stating, “I’ve concluded that repairing our relationship across the political divide can only be done with someone else at the helm.”

This decision comes just over a year since he succeeded Nicola Sturgeon as first minister and SNP leader.

He expressed intent to continue in his role until a successor is determined through an SNP leadership contest.

The SNP’s popularity has waned after nearly two decades of governance, exacerbated by a funding scandal and Sturgeon’s resignation as leader last year.

Recent polling by YouGov indicated Labour surpassing the SNP in voting intentions for a Westminster election for the first time in ten years, hinting at a potential reversal of the trend that saw the SNP dominate most of Scotland’s seats in the UK parliament.

Yousaf, the first Muslim head of government in modern Western Europe, abruptly terminated a power-sharing pact with the Green Party amidst disagreements over climate change targets.

Internal strife also arose regarding the SNP’s ideological stance, particularly concerning gender recognition reforms and economic priorities.

Acknowledging the repercussions of his decisions, Yousaf admitted to underestimating the impact of ending the coalition with the Greens but affirmed his unwillingness to compromise his values for the sake of power.

Ash Regan, a lawmaker from the Alba Party who parted ways with the SNP last year, had demanded a policy reassessment in exchange for supporting Yousaf in the confidence vote.

With the Scottish parliament now tasked with selecting a new first minister within 28 days, discussions swirl around potential contenders, including former SNP leader John Swinney and Yousaf’s former rival Kate Forbes.

While Scottish Labour advocates for an election to determine the next first minister, the Greens oppose efforts to trigger an early vote.