Humza Yousaf quits as Scotland’s First Minister in tearful address: ‘I will not trade in my values’

Humza Yousaf

Humza Yousaf has resigned as Scotland’s First Minister, paying tribute to his wife and children during his resignation statement.

He thanked his family in the emotional press conference, held at his official residence Bute House in Edinburgh, appearing to fight back tears as he thanked them for their support during his long political career.

“I am in absolute debt to my wonderful wife, my beautiful children and my wider family for putting up with me over the years,” he said. “I’m afraid you will be seeing a lot more of me from now.”

Humza Yousaf has been praised by LGBTQ+ advocates for his progressive stance, including confirming that trans women will be protected under new misogyny laws in Scotland

Yousaf was facing mounting pressure in the face of two upcoming no confidence votes, which came after he terminated a powersharing deal between the SNP and the Scottish Greens last week.

He initially insisted he wouldn’t step down, and that he intended to win the confidence votes, however he subsequently U-turned and announced his resignation today (29 April)

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In his speech, he added: “I am not willing to trade in my values or principles or do deals with whomever simply for retaining power.”

The comment caught the attention of several people on X (formerly Twitter), who speculated on the meaning behind it. One person suggested that it could be a reference to Alba MSP Ash Regan, whose support, if given, would have boosted Humza Yousaf to 64 votes. There are 129 MSPs in total; the SNP has 63. Alba have one.

The Daily Mail reports that Ms Regan had written to Mr Yousaf laying out her demands for propping him up, including “defending the rights of women and children”. The Daily Mail adds: “That is thought to mean accepting the findings of the Cass Review, which criticised gender therapies, in full.”

Ms Regan quit the SNP in October 2023 and moved over to Alex Salmond’s Alba Party. She previously served as community safety minister in the Scottish government, but left that position in 2022 to vote against the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) bill, aimed at making it easier for Scots to change their legal gender.

Speaking to the BBC’s World Tonight on Radio 4 about the planned no confidence votes, Ms Regan said: “I have written to the First Minister today with a number of issues that I’ve raised with him on progress made towards independence, on how he will defend the rights of women and children and a return to competent governance. My vote will depend on really what Humza comes back with in response to my letter.”

In his resignation statement, Yousaf said: “After spending the weekend reflecting on what is best for the government and country I lead, I have concluded that repairing our relationships across the political divide can only be done with someone else at the helm.

“I intend to stand down as party leader. I will continue as First Minister until my successor has been elected, particularly as the Parliament will be debating some incredibly important legislation in the coming days and weeks.

“I cannot tell you what an honour it is being the First Minister of the country I love, the country I am raising my family in, and the only country I will ever call home. I have had the honour of serving in Government for almost 12 years in a variety of roles.

“Although I am sad that my time as First Minister is ending, I am so grateful and blessed for having the opportunity so few are afforded – to lead my country, and who could ask for a better country to lead than Scotland.”

As Humza Yousaf resigns, queer people in Scotland and beyond are now left feeling blindsided, asking: who will replace him? And will they have the same track record on LGBTQ+ rights?