Front-runners for SNP leadership to announce intentions

Both front-runners for the SNP leadership look set to announce their intentions on Thursday.

John Swinney – the former deputy first minister – will hold an event in Edinburgh on Thursday morning and is expected to announce his intention to stand for the top job.

Hours later, it is understood former finance secretary Kate Forbes will make clear her intentions – although it is not known what she is likely to say.

A source close to Ms Forbes said the Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch MSP is “still weighing things up”, ahead of Mr Swinney’s announcement.

Humza Yousaf
First Minister Humza Yousaf said on Monday he would step down (Jane Barlow/PA)

It emerged on Wednesday that the pair held private talks this week at Holyrood, although it is unclear what was discussed or if any deal was reached.

Mr Swinney emerged as the early favourite among senior party figures in the hours and days after Humza Yousaf said he would be resigning as First Minister, with Westminster leader Stephen Flynn, Health Secretary Neil Gray and Education Secretary Jenny Gilruth – all considered potential contenders themselves – urging him to stand.

Mr Swinney – who previously served as SNP leader between 2000 and 2004 – said earlier this week he would consider a tilt at the top job but wanted to take time to consider the impact on his family.

Meanwhile, Ms Forbes emerged as the favourite among those yearning for change within the SNP, including figures who have recently been at odds with the leadership such as Joanna Cherry and Fergus Ewing.

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