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John Swinney Poised to Lead SNP and Scotland as Sole Candidate After McCormick Exits Race



John Swinney poised to be the next SNP leader and Scotland's First Minister after the only other contender withdraws

With Graeme McCormick withdrawing from the leadership contest, John Swinney remains the sole official candidate to replace Humza Yousaf, following his decision to resign.

Monday, May 6, 2024, 5:

John Swinney is poised to be Scotland's upcoming first minister following Graeme McCormick's withdrawal from the contest for SNP leadership.

Mr. McCormick has opted out of entering the leadership contest, positioning Mr. Swinney as the sole declared candidate following Humza Yousaf's resignation announcement.

Mr. Yousaf announced his resignation last week following his decision to terminate the coalition with the Scottish Green Party.

News emerged on Sunday that Mr. McCormick had announced gathering the necessary 100 endorsements from 20 different branches to challenge Mr. Swinney in the contest.

In a statement given to Sky News, the party activist mentioned that he had a "long and productive discussion" with Mr. Swinney, noting that he had "achieved the criteria established by the party regulations."

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"John and I discussed the difficulties faced by the SNP, our administration, and our citizens, and examined fresh ideas on various topics. I am optimistic that these initiatives, as they progress, will motivate members of both the SNP and the broader independence movement in the upcoming weeks and months," he stated.

"This marks a new beginning for both our supporters and our leaders, and I am confident that John's commitment to achieving Independence will be recognized in the upcoming general election."

"After careful consideration, I have decided to withdraw my candidacy for party leader and will instead endorse John Swinney for the positions of party leader and first minister of Scotland."

The party will now sidestep a prolonged three-week leadership battle, which would have ensued if Mr. McCormick had not withdrawn and secured the necessary 100 nominations.

Barring any unexpected contenders, the leadership race may not require a vote from SNP members, and it's probable that Mr. Swinney will assume the role of Scotland's next first minister by Tuesday.

Unless there's a major surprise, Swinney is set to be named leader today

Scotland correspondent

The leadership of the SNP is discreetly expressing relief following the unexpected withdrawal of a surprise contender.

Longtime grassroots member Graeme McCormick has consistently challenged the party leadership, yet realistically, he never had a real shot at becoming the leader.

He was seen collecting the necessary 100 signatures from party members on his clipboard at an independence rally in Glasgow on Saturday, truly embodying a grassroots approach.

Initiating a competition would have postponed Swinney's likely victory, while compelling the party to engage in an additional three weeks of internal discussion.

Mr. Swinney and his colleagues likely faced a challenging and potentially awkward situation as they attempted to reunite a fractured party.

Mr. McCormick informed Sky News that he had a conversation with Mr. Swinney on Sunday, which apparently led to a mutual understanding between the two.

Many are likely to view this as a modest diplomatic victory for the new first minister, who is utilizing soft power to save the SNP from embarrassment.

Unless there's a major surprise, Mr. Swinney is set to become the leader tomorrow and will step into the role of Scotland's First Minister on Tuesday, taking over as Humza Yousaf leaves, following his recent move to oust the Greens.

Discover More: Who is John Swinney? What path will the SNP follow?

On Sunday, Mr. Swinney cautioned against any new contenders joining the contest, stating it would postpone the party's reconstruction efforts.

"I have garnered extensive">king from within the SNP in my effort to lead the party. I've communicated a vision focused on uniting the SNP to fortify our ranks and achieve Scottish independence," he said during an interview with Sky's Trevor Phillips.

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"I believe it's essential because the SNP currently lacks the unity required, and my campaign has garnered substantial support from a broad base."

"I believe the SNP now has an opportunity to recover from the challenging times experienced during my tenure. Frankly, I'm eager to begin this process immediately because the longer we spend on internal battles, which likely have a foreseeable conclusion, the more we postpone the party's recovery. I am keen to move forward with this as swiftly as possible."

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