As Humza Yousaf, Kate Forbes and Ash Regan do battle YET AGAIN on live television, one Tory MSP asks: ‘Are these three the best the SNP have to offer?’
By Bill Heaney
All three SNP leadership contenders endured a tough grilling in a televised debate, leading to claims that none of the trio have what it takes to be first minister.
And, with just five minutes to go until the next debate kicks of on BBC Scotland, they can expect the same again.
Voting in the contest began today but Humza Yousaf, Kate Forbes and Ash Regan still have almost a fortnight to win over around 80,000 party members.
Sky’s political editor Beth Rigby hauled them over the coals during the debate over issues such as the crisis in the NHS, the currency in a separate Scotland and gay conversion therapy.
Scottish Conservative chairman Craig Hoy tweeted: “Are these three the best the SNP have to offer? One doesn’t know the answers, one won’t answer the questions and one is so full of himself he feels like he doesn’t need to answer the questions.”
He added: “Humza Yousaf says he can inspire people. Maybe he could just get people a doctor’s appointment.”
In a clear dig at her main rival in the race, the Finance Secretary said “continuity won’t cut it” as she promised to put economic growth “front and centre”.
Could that wave mean drowning or simply saying goodbye to Katie?
Mr Yousaf confirmed his position as the man the party leadership wants to win by saying that he intended to “build on that winning formula” put in place by Nicola Sturgeon.
After he claimed to be 19 points ahead of Ms Forbes in polling of SNP members, she hit back: “On the polling, I don’t think that’s where you’re particularly strong.
“I have not only got net positive ratings, I have actually got higher net positive ratings than either of the opposition leaders. That is what matters for an election winner.”
She also said “can I ask why you didn’t have any concerns about me when I was delivering budgets?”
A new poll for Sky today found that a majority of Scots think they will still be in the UK in a decade and all three were asked whether Scotland would be an independent country within three years.
The Finance Secretary replied that she “would hope so”, while Mr Yousaf said: “It can absolutely be independent within a few years time.”
Ms Regan, who has adopted the most extreme stance on achieving Scexit, said: “With my plan, Scotland will be an independent country in three years’ time.”
However, she floundered when asked about how she would going about setting up a national bank or a Scottish currency if she achieves her ambition of breaking up the UK.
Scottish Tory deputy leader Meghan Gallacher described her performance as “cringeworthy”
During the debate, Ms Forbes described conversion therapy as “abhorrent” but stopped short of saying she would ban the process entirely.
She added: “I think people should be allowed to live freely as they choose and I don’t think there should be conversion therapy in existence in Scotland.”
Asked if a gay man should be allowed to seek conversion therapy to change his sexuality, Ms Forbes said: “Well, it’s his choice, but I do not think we should allow conversion therapy.”