Kate Forbes announces bid for SNP leadership
Kate Forbes has entered the race to replace Nicola Sturgeon as SNP leader.
The finance secretary, who is currently on maternity leave, joins Humza Yousaf and Ash Regan in the contest.
It comes as constitution secretary Angus Robertson ruled himself out, saying that as the father of two young children, the “time is not right” for him to stand.
Forbes said: “The nation and the Yes movement are at a major crossroads. The choices we make in the next few weeks will have a profound impact on our future and our children’s future
“I cannot sit back and watch our nation thwarted on the road to self-determination. Our small, independent neighbours enjoy wealthier, fairer, and greener societies – and so can we.
“We urgently need to unleash the full talent of the SNP, the wider Yes movement and the country at large. We need to choose strong, competent leadership to deliver independence – the leadership that I can offer.”
She added: “I believe we need somebody who can unite the party and the Yes movement. I will reach out and listen so that every member feels valued and able to contribute. That is important within the party, but it is also important if we are to persuade others of the merits of independence.
“We need a leader who is bold and brave and energised, who inspires confidence from the SNP membership and who inspires the confidence of the people of Scotland. From the youngest to the oldest, regardless of where you live or who you are. We need somebody who voters can trust, who has integrity and commitment. I am that leader – and I want to lead the party into better days.”
Speaking to Holyrood last year, Forbes was asked about the controversy surrounding gender recognition reform.
Asked about the legislation, she said: “I think a lot of people feel disenfranchised from the discussion and that does not lend itself to making good law.”
Earlier, Robertson, who many considered a frontrunner for the leadership, ruled himself out.
In a statement posted on Twitter, he said: “Nicola Sturgeon has been a tremendous first minister, SNP leader, public servant and advocate of Scottish independence. It has been an honour to serve as her depute leader and as Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture. I am hugely grateful to her for all she has contributed and warmly wish her well.
“Since Nicola Sturgeon announced she is stepping down, I have been encouraged by many to consider running for the SNP leadership and to become first minister. It is a real privilege and honour for people to wish me to stand and I am very thankful for their trust.
“However, as the father of two very young children, the time is not right for me and my family to take on such a huge commitment.”
Robertson said he looked forward to working with the next SNP leader to deliver “progressive policies and economic success” for Scotland and independence for within the EU.
Yousaf, the health secretary, is launching his campaign today with an event in Clydebank.