Telling Yousaf SNP “can’t afford a leader who diverts us from the progressive path.”

Leadership hopeful Humza Yousaf is set to tell SNP members that the party “can’t afford a leader who is stopping us” from following a progressive path as voting in the competition to choose the next first minister begins on Monday.

Ballots are being sent out to SNP members to elect their party’s new leader, with Mr Yousaf, Kate Forbes and Ash Regan in the running for Scotland’s sixth First Minister.

Mr Yousaf, who is currently serving as Health Secretary in Nicola Sturgeon’s government, will tell party members at an event in Stirling that the Yes movement is built on “inclusiveness, equality and respect for all” and that the SNP “does not seek a leader can do, pulls us away from this progressive path”.

“I am the only candidate willing to oppose Westminster’s power grabs and vetoes and I am the only candidate who will ensure that we maintain our majority agreement for independence with the Greens to ensure Holyrood remains strong and united by future Tory attacks,” he is expected to later tell members along with former SNP MSP Bruce Crawford.

SNP leadership candidate Humza Yousaf during the SNP leadership debate at the Tivoli Theater Company in Aberdeen (Craig Brough/PA)

“So I urge SNP members to open their vote today and make me their first choice for First Minister.”

Party members are asked to rank the three candidates in order of preference, and if no single candidate receives more than 50% of the votes for first preference, the person ranked third is eliminated.

Your second preference votes are then split between the two remaining candidates to determine the winner.

Mr Yousaf will tell Monday’s event that he is in the best position to move the party forward.

“Today our hard-working SNP members and campaigners have an opportunity to elect a party leader and First Minister who will stand up for their values ​​by opposing the Westminster seizure of power, promoting the rights of all in Scotland and on a progressive political agenda to implement Independence for Scotland,” he will tell members.

“A proudly progressive political party, the SNP has won election after election by giving the people of Scotland free education, free prescriptions, the Scottish Child Pay and protecting our beloved NHS from backdoor privatization attempts.

“Inclusiveness, equality and respect for all were the cornerstones on which the yes movement was built leading up to 2014.

“As a party we cannot afford to have a leader divert us from this progressive path that is bringing us the Scottish independence we yearn for.

“It is so important that every SNP leader and First Minister resists Westminster attacks and attempts to undermine the Scottish Parliament and its democratic will.

“As a government, the SNP cannot topple over and allow the Tories to trample on our democracy.”

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