Connect with us

Published

on

John Swinney has won the SNP leadership contest and is set to be named as Scotland’s new first minister, replacing Humza Yousaf.

Mr Swinney could become Scotland’s seventh first minister as early as Tuesday.

The SNP leadership nominations closed at 12pm on Monday, with the party confirming Mr Swinney was the sole nominee.

He is expected to give a speech later in the day.

Posting on X, he said: “I am deeply honoured to have been elected as leader of the SNP. I will give all that I have to serve my party and my country.”

The former deputy first minister, who served under close ally Nicola Sturgeon, emerged as a frontrunner following Mr Yousaf’s resignation last week.

Former finance secretary Kate Forbes had been tipped to join him, but later announced she would not stand and instead threw her support behind Mr Swinney.

More on Humza Yousaf

Mr Swinney has said he would want Ms Forbes to “play a significant part” in his government if elected as first minister.

EMBARGOED TO 0001 MONDAY MAY 6 File photo dated 02/05/24 of MSP John Swinney at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, after he became the first candidate to declare his bid to become the new leader of the SNP and Scotland's next first minister. It seems beyond doubt that on Monday, exactly a quarter of a century after Scots first went to the polls to elect their MSPs, John Swinney will become the new SNP leader - and will therefore go on to be Scotland's seventh first minister. Issue date: Monda
Image:
John Swinney. Pic: PA

Potential challenger Graeme McCormick also withdrew his bid at the 11th hour.

The veteran SNP activist claimed he had secured the 100 nominations from 20 branches needed to enter the contest but backed out of the campaign on Sunday evening after a “lengthy and fruitful conversation” with Mr Swinney.

The SNP has appeared keen to avoid an explosive leadership contest similar to the one that followed Ms Sturgeon’s resignation.

Last year’s race, involving Mr Yousaf, Ms Forbes and now Alba Party MSP Ash Regan, featured rows over religious beliefs, arguments about the recollection of past events, and widespread criticism of secrecy surrounding the vote.

It also led to the resignation of Ms Sturgeon’s husband Peter Murrell as SNP chief executive.

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross congratulated Mr Swinney on becoming SNP leader for a second time, but urged him to abandon his “relentless push for independence”.

Mr Ross added: “It’s difficult to see how he can be the fresh start Scotland needs when he’s the ultimate continuity candidate.”

Follow Sky News on WhatsApp
Follow Sky News on WhatsApp

Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here

Patrick Harvie, Scottish Greens co-leader, said Scotland “needs a period of stable government”.

He added: “Mr Swinney knows that if he is to have our support then it must be on the basis of progressive policies that help us to tackle the climate crisis and build a fairer and more equal future.”

Mr Harvie said his party remains “utterly committed” to the policies delivered as a result of the Bute House Agreement and will “oppose any move away from them or steps to dilute them”.

He added: “We are committed to delivering on our vision of a fairer, greener and more equal Scotland, and are open to talks with John Swinney and his team about how we can work together to make that happen.”

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

John Swinney speaking to Sky News

Read more:
Who is John Swinney?

What happens next?

Mr Swinney is now clear to take over as SNP leader, but will need to seek parliamentary approval to succeed Mr Yousaf as first minister.

The timing is decided by the parliamentary bureau, and could take place as early as Tuesday.

The parliament will have 28 days to nominate a replacement for Mr Yousaf once his resignation has been accepted by the King.

As the SNP is comfortably the largest party in Holyrood, the onus is on them to find a new leader who can work with other parties in a minority government.

The SNP’s tally of 63 MSPs leaves them just short of a majority in the 129-member parliament, meaning politicians from other parties would need to be persuaded to either vote for Mr Swinney, or at least abstain in the ballot, for the party to be successful.

The leaders from other political parties can also put themselves forward and MSPs can nominate a candidate, although it must be seconded by another member.

If that happens, any candidate that secures more than half of all votes will win the nomination.

If no one reaches that threshold, the candidate with the fewest votes will be eliminated – with the process repeated until the candidates are whittled down to two.

At that point, a candidate will only require a simple majority to win.

Whoever wins the vote is then formally appointed by the King.

An official swearing-in ceremony at the Court of Session in Edinburgh would then take place.

However, if no new first minister can be selected within the 28 days, the Scottish parliament would be forced to hold an extraordinary general election.

Continue Reading

UK

‘I was told this was a wonder drug but not warned about the deathly consequences’: 100 faces of infected blood scandal

Published

on

By

'I was told this was a wonder drug but not warned about the deathly consequences': 100 faces of infected blood scandal

“Losing Gary, my soul mate, was beyond painful,” says Kathryn Croucher, whose husband died aged 42 in 2010.

“Every day was a struggle dealing with the knowledge he was HIV and Hepatitis C positive.”

“Mum always said she was given a death sentence,” recalls Ronan Fitzgerald. His mother, Jane, died aged 54 after being infected with Hepatitis C when she was 16. “It was a ticking time bomb.”

Updates:
Scandal was ‘not an accident’
Follow reaction to report live

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

The faces of the infected blood scandal.

More than 30,000 Britons were infected with HIV and Hepatitis C after being given contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 1980s.

Around 3,000 people have died as a result of the scandal, while many more still live under the shadow of health problems, debilitating treatments and stigma. Now, the findings of a public inquiry, first announced in 2017, will finally be published.

These are 100 faces of infected blood victims that either they, or their families, have shared with Sky News.

Click the images to read their stories.

Sky News will have full coverage of the infected blood report on TV, online and on the Sky News app today.

Infected blood inquiry Sky News promo image

Sky News would like to thank everyone who contributed to this project.

Continue Reading

UK

Julian Assange wins High Court bid to bring appeal against extradition to US

Published

on

By

Julian Assange wins High Court bid to bring appeal against extradition to US

Julian Assange will be allowed to appeal against his extradition to the United States.

Two judges responded today to US assurances that Mr Assange will not face the death penalty – and can rely on the First Amendment right to free speech if he faced a trial for spying.

The WikiLeaks founder faces prosecution in the US over an alleged conspiracy to obtain and disclose national defence information after the publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents relating to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2017. Pic: Reuters
Image:
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2017. Pic: Reuters

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a police van after being arrested in London in 2019. Pic: Reuters
Image:
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a police van after being arrested in London in 2019. Pic: Reuters

Edward Fitzgerald KC, representing Assange, criticised the assurances of Joe Biden’s US administration at the hearing. He said: “Based on the principle of the separation of powers, the US court can and will apply US law, whatever the executive may say or do.”

He added most of the promises were “blatantly inadequate” – but they had accepted the promise about the death penalty.

In written submissions, the barrister said while the assurance over the death penalty was “an unambiguous executive promise”, the other assurance does not give “any reliable promise as to future action”.

The barrister added: “What needs to be conclusively removed is the risk that he will be prevented from relying on the first amendment on grounds of nationality.”

But James Lewis KC, representing the US government, insisted the “judicial branch of the United States will take due notice of this solemn assurance given by its government in the course of international relations”.

In written submissions, he said there is “no question” that Assange, if extradited, “will be entitled to the full panoply of due process trial rights, including the right to raise, and seek to rely upon, the first amendment as a defence”.

He later told the court: “The assurance does make it clear that he will not be discriminated against because of his nationality.

“He can and will be able to raise all those arguments and his nationality will not prejudice a fair trial.”

Today’s decision is the latest chapter in 13 years of legal battles and detentions for Australian-born Mr Assange.

A woman attends a protest outside the High Court on the day of an extradition hearing of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, in London, Britain, May 20, 2024. REUTERS/Maja Smiejkowska
Image:
Supporters of Mr Assange have been gathering outside the High Court. Pic: Reuters

A police officers looks on near a placard outside of the Royal Court of Justice.
Pic: Reuters
Image:
Pic: Reuters

Follow Sky News on WhatsApp
Follow Sky News on WhatsApp

Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here

The US authorities want to put Mr Assange on trial over 18 charges, nearly all under the Espionage Act.

They claim his actions with WikiLeaks were reckless, damaged national security, and endangered the lives of agents.

During a two-day hearing in February, lawyers for Mr Assange asked for permission to challenge a judge’s dismissal of the majority of his case to prevent his extradition.

In March, Dame Victoria Sharp and Mr Justice Johnson dismissed most of Mr Assange’s legal arguments – but said unless assurances were given by the US, he would be able to bring an appeal on three grounds.

These assurances are that Assange would be protected by and allowed to rely on the First Amendment – which protects freedom of speech in the US – that he is not “prejudiced at trial” due to his nationality, and that the death penalty is not imposed.

People attend a protest outside the High Court 
Pic: Reuters
Image:
Pic: Reuters

People attend a protest outside the High Court
Image:
Pic: Reuters

Supporters of Mr Assange have already been gathering outside the High Court to continue their calls for his release.

Mr Assange is currently being held in London’s high security Belmarsh prison.

Continue Reading

UK

Hunt for two suspects after man dies in Glasgow stabbing

Published

on

By

Hunt for two suspects after man dies in Glasgow stabbing

Detectives are on the hunt for two men following a fatal stabbing in Glasgow at the weekend.

Police Scotland said the force received a report of a man being attacked and stabbed in Saracen Street, Possil, at around 5pm on Saturday.

Emergency services attended and took the 27-year-old victim to the city’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, where he later died.

The death is being treated as “suspicious” ahead of the completion of a post-mortem examination.

Investigating officers have since established that two men were involved in the attack.

The suspects have been described as white and in their 30s.

One was wearing a light-blue top and black shorts, while the other was dressed in a white top, black shorts and black trainers.

Follow Sky News on WhatsApp
Follow Sky News on WhatsApp

Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here

Officers have been gathering and reviewing CCTV footage from in and around the neighbourhood as the probe continues.

Additional patrols have also been mobilised to the area, and anyone with information or concerns can approach these officers.

Read more from Sky News:
The stories behind 100 victims of infected blood scandal
Probe launched after man dies in police custody

Detective Inspector Lesley-Ann McGee said: “It was a warm, sunny day and there were lots of people out enjoying the weather in Saracen.

“I am asking them to get in touch with us with any information that could assist us in establishing the motive for this attack. If you saw, heard or know anything please contact us.

“I’m also asking people with dashcam or doorbell recording equipment to check for any footage that could assist our investigation.

“A family is mourning the loss of a loved one and it’s imperative we are able to answer how their loved one died.”

Continue Reading

Trending