Humza Yousaf elected as the new leader of the SNP

Humza Yousaf has beaten Kate Forbes and Ash Regan in the contest to become Scotland's First Minister

Humza Yousaf has been elected as the new leader of the SNP defeating rival candidates Kate Forbes and Ash Regan in a ballot of party members.

The current Scottish Health Secretary is set to become Scotland’s youngest first minister and also the first ever person from a minority ethnic background to hold the post after he was elected SNP leader.

After a sometimes fiery and divisive leadership contest, SNP members chose Mr Yousaf, 37, as their party’s new leader, succeeding Nicola Sturgeon.

The current Scottish Health Secretary will be declared Scotland’s sixth first minister after a vote in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday.

Ms Sturgeon, who was Scotland’s longest-serving First Minister, announced last month she was stepping down after more than eight years in the job.

Mr Yousaf succeeds her after defeating the current Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes and former community safety minister Ash Regan in what was the SNP’s first leadership contest for almost 20 years.

The SNP’s national secretary Lorna Finn announced that turnout in the party’s leadership election was 70%.

For first preferences in the STV system, Humza Yousaf took 24,336 (48%), Kate Forbes took 20,559 (40%) and Ash Regan took 5,599 (11%) of the vote.

When second preferences were distributed in the second stage, Humza Yousaf took 26,032 (52%) and Kate Forbes took 23,890 (48%).

Mr Yousaf said he was “honoured” to be entrusted by the SNP membership after winning the leadership election.

He said: “It is hard for me to find the words to describe just how honoured I am to be entrusted by our membership of the SNP to be the party’s next leader and to be on the cusp of being our country’s next first minister.

He paid tribute to colleagues Kate Forbes and Ash Regan, adding: “It’s felt we’ve seen each other more than our respective families. You both have put in an incredible shift and I know that collectively we will work hard as part of Team SNP.”

Mr Yousaf said it is now time for the SNP to come together and deliver independence.

He said: “Leadership elections, by their very nature, can be bruising. However, in the SNP we are a family. Over the last five weeks we may have been competitors or supporters of different candidates. We are no longer team Humza, or team Ash, or team Kate, we are one team.

“We will be the team, we will be the generation, that delivers independence for Scotland.”

Nicola Sturgeon, the outgoing Scottish First Minister, has congratulated Humza Yousaf on his victory in the race to succeed her.

Ms Sturgeon tweeted: “I pay tribute to all 3 candidates for @theSNP leadership for rising to the challenge. Most of all I congratulate @HumzaYousaf and wish him every success.

“He will be an outstanding leader & First Minister and I could not be prouder to have him succeed me.”