May 19, 2024

Brighton Journal

Complete News World

Hamza Yousef communicates with opponents before the vote of no confidence

Hamza Yousef communicates with opponents before the vote of no confidence

Image source, Getty Images

  • author, James Delaney
  • Role, BBC News

The First Minister faces a serious challenge at Holyrood after the collapse of the power-sharing agreement between the SNP government and the Scottish Greens.

But the Scottish Conservatives immediately rejected his request, calling it “humiliating and embarrassing” while Scottish Labor said it was an “act of desperation”.

Youssef also said on Saturday that the unrest could lead to early elections in Scotland.

As he toured Fife, he again insisted he had no intention of resigning.

Asked whether it was possible to hold an election in Holyrood, he said Sky News“This cannot be ruled out.”

Scottish Parliament elections are usually held after a fixed period of five years, with the next election due to take place by May 2026.

The political turmoil began on Thursday when Youssef abruptly ended the power-sharing agreement with the Scottish Greens, known as the Boat House Agreement, which his predecessor Nicola Sturgeon signed in 2021.

The decision led to angry accusations from the Green Party, which later said they would support a motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister, put forward by the Scottish Conservatives.

Scottish Labor tabled a separate motion of no confidence on Friday, a motion that would include the entire Scottish Government and not just Mr Youssef.

This would force all ministers to resign if passed, while the Conservatives' proposal would not oblige Youssef to step down if adopted.

Youssef called for a “constructive contribution” while acknowledging that “strong feelings” remain in the run-up to next week’s elections.

“Every group within Parliament must contribute constructively, and I believe the people of Scotland want to see their political parties working together where and when they can, to build consensus for the common good,” he wrote.

“I recognize the strong feelings regarding the confidence debate that our Parliament is due to have next week.

“Despite this, I am writing to all Holyrood party groups to ask them to meet me next week, in separate meetings, to discuss their concerns and priorities, hopefully in a constructive spirit.”

Support price

The Scottish National Party has 63 members in the 129-seat Scottish Parliament, and must now govern as a minority government.

If the Greens vote with Labour, the Conservatives and the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Youssef will need the support of his former leadership rival Ash Reagan to survive no-confidence votes.

Regan, an outspoken critic of the Bute House Agreement and the Scottish Government's stance on transgender rights, defected from the SNP to the ALBA party last October.

At the time, Youssef described her departure from the SNP as “no great loss”.

Alba, founded by former First Minister Alex Salmond, said its national executive committee would meet over the weekend to discuss issues on which Regan would seek “action” ahead of negotiations.

After receiving his letter from the First Minister, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross described the letter as “insulting and embarrassing”.

He accused the Scottish National Party and the Green Party of “mismanaging” public services in Scotland during the agreement and called on Youssef to resign.

In a response issued on Saturday, Mr Ross wrote: “His own [Mr Yousaf’s] The late abandonment of the Boathouse agreement with the toxic Green Party – which he had supported just two days before he finally decided to withdraw it – does not undo the enormous damage it has done.

Humza Yousaf now talks about delivering “significant benefits to people, communities and businesses across the country”, and just wants to discuss “concerns and priorities” now that his job is on the line.

He added: “It is his abject failure to prioritize these issues that has led to a complete lack of confidence in his leadership through Parliament.”

Call to resign

Ross added: “He must now accept that his time in power is over and finally resign as First Minister.”

Meanwhile, Scottish Labor deputy leader Jackie Baillie joked that Youssef's letter was the first the party had received from the SNP “in about a decade”.

She described this as a “desperate act” and called for early elections.

“We will consider the message and we are ready to work constructively with anyone,” she said.

Kate Forbes urges loyalty

Comment on the photo, Kate Forbes urged pro-independence MPs to support Youssef

Kate Forbes, another former SNP leadership contender, urged SNP members to rally behind Youssef before the vote of confidence.

Ms Forbes, who came second in the competition, said “everyone who cares about Scotland” should support Mr Youssef.

Writing in the National“How we ended up here should be an embarrassment to every parliamentarian in every party,” she said.

She said abandoning the “overly ambitious” climate change targets should have led to “partners in government sitting down to agree on a practical plan to achieve these goals.”

“It is easy to be loyal to a party when times are good and the party is ahead in the polls,” she wrote in her column for the newspaper.

“But you discover what true leadership is – and what true loyalty looks like – when times are toughest and that is why I will be supporting the SNP and the First Minister through next week's battle and I urge everyone in our party and everyone who cares about Scotland to do the same.”

Video explanation, The vote of confidence shows the “will of Parliament” – Mackie

Former SNP business secretary Ivan McKee said Youssef would likely be forced to resign if he lost the Tory-led vote, despite there being no legal obligation to do so.

He told BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme: “I don't think there's any doubt about that.

He added, “The vote of confidence, although not legally binding, will be a clear indication of Parliament's will.”

He added, “If you lose the vote of no confidence, it is clear that you do not have the confidence of Parliament.”

“But I think, as I said, the First Minister is using his political skills to negotiate to make sure he doesn't lose.”

Patrick Harvey, co-leader of the Scottish Greens, told the PA news agency on Friday that it was “pretty clear” Youssef had been unable to unite the Scottish Parliament.

He said: “He still has not provided any clarity on why he made such a dramatic shift and violated the promise on which he was elected as Prime Minister.”

“So it's very difficult to see how you can have a conversation that leads to a constructive outcome based on a lack of trust.”

Video explanation, A Scottish Green MSP has become upset on live radio after the Bute House Agreement was scrapped

In a radio interview on Friday, Green MSP Gillian MacKay cried as she described how “upset” she was by the termination of the agreement.

She told BBC Radio Scotland's Drivetime program that she had friends in government who were also “hurt” by the breakdown in relations.

“We had a good two-and-a-half years working together,” she said.

“It's really sad that it all had to be undone by one person.”

Youssef canceled his appearance in Glasgow on Friday, but later announced the minority government's first policy on a Dundee housing development.

He pledged an £80 million increase in affordable housing over two years, raising the budget for affordable housing supply to £600 million in 2024/25.

He remained adamant that he “fully intends” to win votes of confidence.

He also said he would “absolutely” lead the SNP in the general election and the 2026 Holyrood elections.