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by Kirsteen Paterson
18 January 2024
Humza Yousaf: I've never been comfortable with 'national' in SNP name

First Minister Humza Yousaf | Alamy

Humza Yousaf: I've never been comfortable with 'national' in SNP name

SNP leader Humza Yousaf has said he has "never been comfortable" with having "national" in his party's name.

Appearing on the BBC's Political Thinking podcast, Yousaf was asked about the associations with the word 'nationalism'.

The first minister said the SNP's name could be "misinterpreted" by others.

Host Nick Robinson said: "Here in Scotland, the idea of being a nationalist is not a phrase that often people in the SNP like, but it's something of pride. It's pride in identity and pride in country. It's a belief in self-government, escaping from being ruled from outside. And yet in most of the parts of the world nationalism is often seen in a very different way as kind of hostile to others, aggressive."

Yousaf responded: "I've never really been comfortable with the fact that we have national in our party's name, not because I think the founding members of the SNP had any far-right inclination - they certainly didn't - or a nationalist inclination, the way that you express it there, but because it can be misinterpreted.

"But we are the Scottish National Party - we have a very strong brand, a very strong identity. 

"We've worked really hard to make it really clear. It is now well understood that we're a civic national party, we're a party that believes it doesn't matter really where you come from, what's important is where are we going together, and there's no doubt about our politics being very rooted in the left and the centre left of our political discourse."

Operation Branchform, the police investigation into SNP finances, is yet to conclude. When asked if the public should know the outcome of the probe before voting, Yousaf declined to give a direct answer, saying: "That would be me interfering in the police investigation because it'd be me saying that the police have to conclude that investigation. I can't do that; I've got to let the police do what they want to do in the time that they've got." 

He went on: "The police investigation has been one of the most difficult times for the party, there's no ifs or buts or maybes about it. And there has clearly been an impact in terms of how we're perceived by the public and issues of trust. 

"I've got to work hard, as I hope I've been doing over the last 10 months. I'm going to work hard to make sure that people know whatever the outcome of that police investigation is, the SNP is a party they can trust, but it's been difficult."

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