LONDON: The leader of the Scottish National Party in Westminster has backed Humza Yousaf to become the next First Minister of Scotland, it was revealed on Saturday.
Stephen Flynn is the latest high-ranking SNP member to give his endorsement to Muslim politician Yousaf, who is currently Scotland’s health minister.
It comes amid claims from Yousaf of racial and Islamophobic abuse since putting his name forward to lead the Scottish parliament.
Yousaf joined fellow contenders Kate Forbes and Ash Regan at a hustings event at Strathclyde University on Saturday, and SNP members will begin voting on Monday.
The winner of the race will be announced on March 27.
“I think, for all of us, we need a big bit of hope at the moment,” Flynn told the BBC Good Morning Scotland radio program on Saturday. “We have had a difficult few years with Brexit, with Liz Truss crashing the economy in October, with the cost of living crisis, and I think that Humza can provide that hope,” he said.
Despite criticism from fellow leadership rivals, especially Forbes, other high-ranking members of the SNP regime have backed Yousaf, most notably SNP Westminster deputy-leader Mhairi Black.
Yousaf recently revealed he has had to call Police Scotland over claims of racist, Islamophobic abuse he experienced at the outset of his campaign, forcing him to discuss with his family his fears of running for the SNP leadership.
“It’s one of the long conversations, the hard conversations, that I had with the family who know about the racial and Islamophobic abuse that I get,” he said. “Ultimately you don’t really worry about yourself too much — you worry about your kids.”