Scotland’s first Muslim first minister resigns after 13 months in role

Scotland’s first Muslim first minister resigns after 13 months in role



LONDON: British Pakistani Scottish first minister Humza Yousaf was overwhelmed with emotion as he announced his resignation on Monday ahead of two no-confidence votes tabled this week, one in him and one in his government.
The motions were tabled by the Tories and Labour after Yousaf (39) last Thursday abruptly terminated the power-sharing cooperation agreement his party, SNP, had with the Greens in a dispute over climate pledges which left the SNP as a minority government.
In his resignation speech, Yousaf said: “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. For those who decry that multiculturalism has failed across the UK, I would suggest the evidence is to the contrary.” He made history 13 months ago when he became the first Muslim and first person of colour to hold the role.
His father emigrated to UK from Pakistan’s Punjab province and his mother is of Kenyan-Pakistani-Punjabi descent.
As he spoke about the toll politics had taken on his family, he nearly broke into tears.
Anas Sarwar, Pakistani-origin Scottish Labour leader, called for an election and said Labour’s no-confidence motion in the SNP government still stands.
Yousaf saw SNP support plummet under his tenure. Most recently he faced widespread criticism for a hate crime act introduced this month which critics decried as a clampdown on free speech which led to the police being deluged with complaints about Yousaf himself in relation to a speech he made criticising Scotland for filling its senior positions with “white people”.
The Scottish parliament has 28 days to nominate a replacement or else an election will be called.
SNP MSP Kate Forbes, who was raised by Christian missionaries in India, is one of the names being put forward. The former finance secretary was taken out of her primary school in Glasgow and moved to Ludhiana, in Punjab, aged 10, where her father was involved in Bible teaching and managing the finances of a group of mission hospitals. She has spoken of the culture shock she experienced there sharing a classroom with 60 Indian children and getting slapped with a ruler for poor grades.
She is a member of the Free Church of Scotland and faces some opposition within SNP ranks owing to her socially conservative views.





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