Humza Yousaf isnt cutting it as SNP leader after Sturgeon surprise appearance

SNP leader Humza Yousaf “isn’t cutting it” as a successor to Nicola Sturgeon who received a standing ovation after making a surprise appearance at the party conference.

The former head of the Scottish National Party appeared to wipe a tear from her eye as she was roundly welcomed by the party at the conference in Aberdeen.

SNP cabinet secretary for wellbeing and economy Neil Gray said Nicola Sturgeon’s bombshell arrival at the SNP conference was “warmly greeted”.

Mr Gray told BBC’s Good Morning Scotland his former leader didn’t have the chance to say goodbye when she quit the job earlier in the year.

He said she was “very warmly well greeted as she came in and she was in the conference hall, and quite rightly so”.

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The Scottish Daily Express reports Ms Sturgeon gave a statement where she told the press she had not spoken to Police Scotland since she was arrested and released without charge.

But Scottish Conservative Chairman Craig Hoy MSP, said Mr Gray’s comments and the appearance of Ms Sturgeon show the SNP is “divided”.

Referring to Mr Yousaf, he added: “The second-rate tribute act who succeeded her simply isn’t cutting it for those in the SNP, if this senior Cabinet Secretary’s gushing praise for Nicola Sturgeon is anything to go by.

“His interview also reaffirmed that independence will be front and centre of everything the SNP say and do in the General Election campaign, as they relentlessly push for another referendum.

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“In crucial seats across Scotland, it is only the Scottish Conservatives who can stop the SNP getting a majority of seats, stop Humza Yousaf obsessing about independence and get the focus onto people’s real priorities.”

On Monday Nicola Sturgeon gave her “full unequivocal support” to the SNP’s new strategy for independence, after party members voted against the de facto referendum policy she had previously put forward.

With the party having suffered defeat in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election less than two weeks ago, the former Scottish first minister declared her “record as SNP leader speaks for itself”.

But she insisted her presence at the SNP annual conference in Aberdeen would not undermine Humza Yousaf, who succeeded her as party leader and Scottish First Minister following a divisive leadership contest in the spring.

Ms Sturgeon’s visit to the conference came the day after party members voted against proposals which would have effectively made the next Westminster election a de facto referendum on independence.

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