Scotland First Minister Resigns Over ‘Confidence Votes’ After One Year In Office


Scotland’s First Minister, Humza Yousaf, has resigned after facing the prospect of defeat in two confidence votes. 


Yousaf was appointed first minister on 29 March 2023, becoming the youngest person, the first Scottish Asian, and the first Muslim to serve in office.


However, after serving for one year and one month, Yousaf arranged a press conference at Bute House in Edinburgh on Monday, April 29, to announce his resignation.


He had informed his party’s national secretary of his intention to step down and requested the commencement of a leadership contest for his replacement as soon as possible.

He plans to stay on as First Minister until a successor is elected.


Reflecting on his time as leader, he said, “As a young boy born and raised in Scotland I could never have dreamt that one day I would have the privilege of leading my country.


“People who looked like me were not in positions of political influence, let alone leading governments when I was younger.


“We now live in a UK which has a British Hindu Prime Minister, a Muslim Mayor of London, a black Welsh First Minister, and for a little longer, a Scots Asian First Minister of this country.”


He added, “So for those to decry that multiculturalism has failed across the UK, I would suggest the evidence is quite to the contrary. And that is something we should all celebrate.”


A Glasgow-born son of immigrants from Pakistan and Kenya, Yousaf was the first person from a minority ethnic background to become the First Minister of Scotland.


Humza Yousaf previously made repeated calls for a ceasefire in Gaza, where members of his wife’s family became trapped in the early weeks of the conflict after Israel’s retaliation against Hamas following the October 7 attack.


But about a year and a month to the day after being sworn in wearing his Pakistani salwar kameez in the Scottish Parliament, he has now stepped down, following an abrupt end to a power-sharing agreement between his Scottish National Party and the Green Party.

Yousaf ended last week with slim hopes that he could lead a minority government.


That precipitated two motions of no confidence – one from Scottish Labour against the whole Scottish government, with another from the Conservatives, specifically about Mr Yousaf.


The pro-independence SNP’s fortunes have faltered amid a police investigation into its finances and the resignation of former leader Nicola Sturgeon last year, as well as infighting over how progressive its pitch should be as it seeks to woo back voters.


Just days ago, the 39-year-old leader said he was “quite confident” that he could win the confidence vote called by political opponents.


However, by the weekend, his offer of talks with other parties to try to shore up his minority government appeared to be faltering.


Yousaf told the press conference that ending the Bute House agreement with the Greens was the “right decision” but he had “underestimated the level of hurt and upset” it had caused.


“While a route through this week’s motion of no confidence was absolutly possible, I am not willing to trade my values and prinicples, or do deals with whomever, simply for retaining power,” he said.


With his voice at times cracking with emotion, Mr Yousaf paid tribute to his “wonderful wife and beautiful children”, and vowed to continue his role of championing the voices of “those who are not often heard”.


“I’ve often said that as a minority myself, my rights don’t exist in a vacuum, they are only protected because the rights of everyone are protected.


“And from the backbenches of the Scottish Parliament, I will continue to champion the rights and the voices of those who are not often heard, be that at home, or indeed overseas, such as those suffering and continuing to suffer the most horrific humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza as the world watches on.”


He said he was confident that Scotland would one day win its independence from the UK, adding that “the last few miles of the marathon are always the hardest”.

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