New SNP leader to be revealed March 27 following resignation of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

16 February 2023, 21:30 | Updated: 16 February 2023, 22:28

A new SNP leader will be announced at the end of March
A new SNP leader will be announced at the end of March. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou and Chris Samuel

The new SNP leader is set to be revealed on March 27 following the resignation of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Nominations for Ms Sturgeon's replacement will close at midday on February 24, and the party said the ballot will open on March 12 and close at noon on March 27.

The national secretary will make the results of the contest public as soon as the result has been determined and after candidates have been advised, the SNP said.

The decision on the leadership campaign comes after a national executive committee meeting of the party on Thursday.

No-one has yet announced their attention to replace Ms Sturgeon who has held the role at the top of the party since 2014.

But Health Secretary Humza Yousaf is expected to announce he is running for the role, but MP Joanna Cherry has ruled herself out of the battle.

Read more: SNP 'prepares to rip up Sturgeon's gender bill' after First Minister's shock resignation

Read more: Who could become Scotland's next First Minister? Runners and riders to replace Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon resignation: What happened and what next

The cabinet minister is among the favourites for the role, along with Deputy First Minister John Swinney, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes, and Angus Robertson.

Kate Forbes is a rising star in the party and began her career as an MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch in 2016.

As Ms Sturgeon's deputy, John Swinney was identified as an early favourite to succeed her, and is current serving as the Cabinet member for Covid Recovery.

Mr Robertson served as the SNP's Commons leader between 2007 to 2017, and was deputy leader of the party between 2017 and 2018.

He left Westminster in 2017 after losing his seat to the Scottish Tory leader, Douglas Ross, before becoming the MSP for Edinburgh Central in 2021.

Nicola Sturgeon has failed in 'core mission', says Andrew Neil

Discussing the timeline for the leadership race, Lorna Finn, the SNP's national secretary, said: "Nicola has been the outstanding politician of this generation.

"We are very fortunate that she will remain an SNP MSP and a leading campaigner for an independent Scotland.

"But the SNP is full of talented individuals and they now have the opportunity to put themselves forward and our new leader will lead us into the final phase of Scotland's journey towards independence."

Ms Sturgeon had backed the use of the next general election as a de facto referendum.

But the party on Thursday said that would be postponed.

Ms Finn said: "It would be wrong to have a newly elected leader tied to a key decision on how we deliver democracy in Scotland in the face of continued Westminster intransigence.

"Therefore, the party's special democracy conference, previously planned for Sunday March 19, is postponed.

"SNP Members, the lifeblood of this party and movement, will be updated in due course on details of a rearranged event once the new party leader is in place."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

England vs Serbia staring XI confirmed ahead of Three Lions' Euro 2024 clash

England vs Serbia staring XI confirmed as Gareth Southgate prepares for Three Lions' opening Euro 2024 clash

Police hunt 21-year-old man following death of boy, 12 in shocking hit-and-run

Police hunt 21-year-old man following death of boy, 12 in 'appalling' hit-and-run

Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting

Wes Streeting urges doctors not to strike amid claims manifesto is not the ‘sum total’ of Labour's NHS spending

Clashes erupt between football fans in Gelsenkirchen ahead of England and Serbia's first Euro 2024 match

Clashes erupt between football fans in Gelsenkirchen ahead of England's first Euro 2024 match against Serbia

Southwark council raised more than £2.6 million by issuing 43,300 fines to motorists

Labour council urged to refund motorists after ‘unfairly’ fining thousands of drivers £2.6million

Police rammed the cow

Officer who rammed cow with police squad car removed from frontline duties

England fans in Gelsenkirchen

Thousands of England fans descend on Gelsenkirchen ahead of Three Lions' first Euro 2024 match against Serbia

Queues at Birmingham airport

Travel chaos strikes major UK airport as passengers stuck in lengthy queues

Police rammed the cow

Owner of cow rammed by police gives update on its condition and says officers should be fired for 'disgusting' incident

Officers shot a man threatening football fans in Hamburg

Man shot by police after brandishing 'axe and molotov cocktail' close to Euro 2024 fan zone

Labour's Wes Streeting has called for a debate with Nigel Farage

Labour's Wes Streeting calls for debate with Nigel Farage to take on 'toxic rhetoric' in 'battle of ideas'

Prince William's children have sent him a Father's Day message

'We love you papa': George, Charlotte and Louis send Prince William Father's Day message in first social media post

Labour and the Conservatives would leave the NHS 'worse off than under austerity', the Nuffield Trust has warned

Labour and Tories would leave NHS 'worse off' than under austerity, health think tank warns

Mark Harper has admitted there is a 'hard fight ahead' for the Conservatives to win the election

Minister admits 'hard fight ahead' as poll suggests 'Tory extinction' - but says no deal to be done with Farage

William and Charles have shared Father's Day messages

Prince William sends touching Father's Day message to Charles with new photo, as King also shares childhood video

Labour and the Conservatives will face off in the July 4 election

Labour landslide could see Tories winning just 72 seats, poll finds, as Rishi Sunak's party faces 'electoral extinction'