The SNP leadership race took another heated turn as the two frontrunners, Humza Yousaf and Kate Forbes, clashed in a second live TV debate. The pair continued to trade blows, with Mr Yousaf suggesting he would not serve under Ms Forbes if she became first minister and did not continue with Ms Sturgeon’s ‘progressive’ agenda. He also questioned Ms Forbes’ views on abortion buffer zones and accused her of giving the SNP’s opponents ammunition to attack the party’s record.
Ms Forbes, who has faced criticism for her socially conservative views, insisted her religious beliefs would not influence her leadership, and warned Mr Yousaf that he would face tougher challenges as SNP leader. Meanwhile, third candidate Ash Regan positioned herself as the candidate who would push hardest for Scottish independence.
The tensions between Yousaf and Forbes spilled over from the first TV debate, where Ms Forbes had criticized Mr Yousaf’s record as Scottish Health Secretary. In last night’s debate, Mr Yousaf berated Ms Forbes for “trashing” the SNP’s record and giving ammunition to the party’s opponents. Ms Forbes countered that the SNP’s opponents did fear her, and that the future first minister would face tough challenges from the UK Government and opposition.
The debate also touched on the issue of abortion buffer zones, with Mr Yousaf pressuring Ms Forbes over her views. Ms Forbes reiterated her support for the principle of buffer zones, but declined to say whether she believed abortion was morally wrong. Mr Yousaf suggested he may refuse to serve under Ms Forbes if she became first minister and did not continue with the SNP’s progressive agenda.
In the meantime, Ms Regan positioned herself as the candidate who would push hardest for Scottish independence. The leadership contest is seen as crucial for the SNP’s future, as the party seeks to maintain its dominance in Scottish politics and keep the independence movement alive.