John Swinney to make statement on SNP leadership election

Scotland’s longest-serving deputy first minister John Swinney is expected to make a statement on whether or not he will stand to be the new leader of the SNP following Humza Yousaf’s resignation.

The Perthshire North MSP, who served as Nicola Sturgeon’s deputy for almost nine years, announced late last night that he was preparing to make a statement on speculation he will run for the leadership.

Mr Swinney was also SNP leader between 2000 and 2004, standing down after a poor showing at the European elections.

Speaking to journalists on Tuesday, Mr Swinney said he was giving the idea of running for the leadership “a great deal of thought”.

Senior party members, including Westminster leader Stephen Flynn, Scotland’s Health Secretary Neil Gray and Scotland’s Education Secretary Jenny Gilruth, have already said they would support Mr Swinney if he decides to stand for election.

He is expected to make his statement at 10.30am at the Grassmarket Community Project in Edinburgh.

Former Scottish finance secretary Kate Forbes has yet to confirm whether or not she will make any similar statement on the future leadership of the SNP.

The Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch MSP narrowly lost to Mr Yousaf in the SNP leadership election last year.

Several senior party members have backed her, including those regularly at odds with the SNP leadership such as Joanna Cherry and Fergus Ewing.