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John Swinney Urges Unity in SNP, Warns Against Leadership Contest Delays Amid Party Rebuilding Efforts

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John Swinney cautions competitors about joining SNP leadership contest

The leading candidate to succeed Humza Yousaf informs Sky News that an internal competition for the position of first minister would merely postpone the "reconstruction" he believes his party requires.

Political journalist @NifS

Sunday, May 5, 2024, at 10

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SNP leadership contender John Swinney has cautioned other potential candidates about joining the race, stating it would "postpone the [party's] recovery process."

The ex-deputy chief now stands as the sole contender to take over from Humza Yousaf, who declared his resignation as first minister last week. His departure followed the termination of a coalition with the Scottish Green Party, which triggered the downfall of his administration.

Reports emerged today suggesting that SNP activist Graeme McCormick has secured sufficient backing to make his own run for the leadership position. Should he file his candidacy by the deadline at noon on Monday, it would trigger a three-week contest for the leadership of the party.

Live Politics: Minister Claims Polls Inaccurate Following Conservative Setbacks in Local Votes

In an interview on Sky News' Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips, Mr. Swinney acknowledged that the rules allow any candidate who gathers 100 signatures from 20 different local SNP groups to join the leadership contest.

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Yet, seemingly cautioning any prospective challengers, he stated, "My campaign for SNP leadership has garnered extensive backing from within the SNP. I've conveyed a message focused on unifying the SNP to fortify our party and secure Scottish independence.

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

Latest on SNP

Kate Forbes will not enter the contest to succeed Humza Yousaf as Scotland's First Minister in the SNP leadership race.

John Swinney enters the race for SNP leader, aiming to replace Humza Yousaf as Scotland's First Minister.

John Swinney: Who is leading the race to succeed SNP leader and First Minister Humza Yousaf?

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"I believe the SNP now has an opportunity to commence its recovery from the challenging times experienced during my tenure. Frankly, I am eager to move forward with this as swiftly as possible because every day we engage in internal competition, which the outcome seems quite apparent to most, we postpone the SNP's chance to rebuild. I'm keen to advance this recovery without delay."

Stay informed about the newest developments in the UK and internationally by tuning into Sky News.

Mr. Swinney highlighted the support he received from Kate Forbes, a previous contender for leadership who was defeated by Mr. Yousaf last year, and who had contemplated another run.

In response to Trevor Phillips’ question about whether he would include her in his administration, he mentioned that "there are a few obstacles we need to overcome before we reach that point."

Learn more: Who is John Swinney? In his statement, Mr. Swinney disclosed that he had a conversation with her, noting, "I believe she can make a significant impact on Scotland’s national affairs."

"I have emphasized that she will play a crucial role in any administration I am fortunate enough to head."

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