SNP members voted for Health Secretary Humza Yousaf to replace Nicola Sturgeon as Scotland’s first minister – becoming the first Muslim in the role. In second place was Christian MSP Kate Forbes, who was frontrunner among Scottish voters.
Mrs Forbes had a lower standing among SNP voters and even lower amongst fellow SNP MSPs after openly declaring her traditional Christian views at the beginning of the campaign.
Her stance on same-sex marriage and transgenderism sparked attacks from the media and gay activists, which were condemned by the head of the Free Church of Scotland as “anti-Christian
intolerance” from a “baying mob”.
She was against having a child outside marriage
Scottish newspaper The Herald photo-shopped a large Bible into Forbes’ hand on its front cover, prompting an investigation by press regulator IPSO.
Forbes, who is a Scottish Free Church member, lost the support of several leading SNP figures when she revealed that she would have voted against same-sex marriage if she had been an MSP at the time, was against having a child outside of marriage and disagreed with aspects of the SNP’s gender recognition bill.
However, in late February a Panelbase and Sunday Times survey found nearly a quarter of the Scottish public would have liked Forbes to win the SNP leadership, compared with just 15 per cent for Humza Yousaf. In early March, a Channel 4 News poll gave Forbes an eight per cent lead. However, it was the SNP’s 72,000 members’ votes that decided the contest.
Former Lib Dems leader Tim Farron, who lost his position after a media interrogation over his Christian beliefs about homosexuality, told Premier: “I could have been wiser when quizzed about sexuality. Kate Forbes has done much better.”