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by Ruaraidh Gilmour
30 October 2023
Fergus Ewing criticises Humza Yousaf’s ‘sour and ill-founded’ remarks over Ash Regan

Regan left the party last week arguing that the SNP had “lost its focus on independence” | Alamy

Fergus Ewing criticises Humza Yousaf’s ‘sour and ill-founded’ remarks over Ash Regan

Fergus Ewing has criticised Humza Yousaf’s remarks about Ash Regan and her decision to quit the SNP to join Alba, calling them “sour and ill-founded”.  

The first minister described Regan's defection as “no great loss” and said she should resign her seat at Holyrood.

Regan, a former minister under Nicola Sturgeon, left the party last week arguing that the SNP had “lost its focus on independence”.

Ewing also criticised the first minister’s continued support for Lorna Slater, the Scottish Green co-leader, after she said she would consider working with a Labour government, adding that the issue of independence was “absolutely not” a red line.  

Reacting to Regan’s departure, Yousaf said: “It is no great loss to the SNP group I have to say, and it is also hardly not a surprise either given Ash’s statements for many months, in fact for longer than that.”

He added: “Ash should do the decent thing, she should resign her seat – she was elected on an SNP ticket.

“I can give you a guarantee that people did not vote for Ash in her constituency because of any personal vote, they voted for her because she had the SNP logo next to her name in the 2021 election.

“So, if she had principles, she would do the right thing and resign – but I have to say it is no great loss to the SNP.”

Posting to social media, Ewing said: “Sad to see such sour & ill-founded remarks from the FM regards @AshReganALBA who displayed courage on her views on independence and resigned ministerial office in her opposition to gender reform.

“At the same time our FM still supports his government minister the Green co-leader who said she would readily ditch independence for continued ministerial office – under Labour.”

Ewing was suspended by the party last month at Holyrood for voting against Slater in a vote of no confidence in June.

With more SNP members rumoured to be joining Alba, Ewing issued a statement, saying that he will not be one of them.  

Speaking to the Herald, Ewing said: “I have been in the SNP for 50 years and it has been a large part of my life. For the first 45 years the party was a broad church, and my view is this is essential for us to succeed.  

“We need to appeal to people on the left but also right and centre as a national party. We have no longer been doing that, particularly over the past two years.

“I am presently appealing against my suspension and my lawyer has submitted my appeal.”

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