SNP conference chaos as rivals boycott with Humza Yousaf’s leadership ‘in doubt’

Humza Yousaf told to apologise after Douglas Ross accusations

Humza Yousaf is “fighting for his political life” as he enters this weekend’s SNP conference in Aberdeen.

Speculation is mounting that the Scottish nationalist First Minister who was Nicola Sturgeon’s handpicked successor could be forced out after a number of gaffes under his watch.

The questions about his future have been heightened after it emerged that his chief rival Kate Forbes, who came a close second in last year’s leadership contest, has chosen to stay away from the conference.

Yousaf enters the conference on the back of former SNP MP Lisa Cameron quitting the party and joining the Conservatives in an unprecedented move.

She condemned the SNP’s “toxic culture” and “bullying” as she became the first nationalist parliamentarian to join the Tories.

READ MORE: I experienced the SNP’s toxic culture first-hand and admire brave Lisa Cameron

There has already been a backlash against Yousaf after his party was humiliated in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election last week.

Labour easily won the seat by a significant margin with top pollster Sir John Curtice warning it could spell a wipeout for the Nationalists.

Questions have been asked over why Yousaf has continued to plough ahead with Nicola Sturgeon’s unpopular hard left legacy including the party’s coalition with the extremist Scottish Greens.

Tensions erupted recently when party stalwart Fergus Ewing was suspended from the party for criticising the Scottish Greens over policies which he believed were damaging the Highlands and Scotland.

Meanwhile, it is understood that the SNP have been negoatiating for a smaller space in Aberdeen at the conference centre because of lower numbers of activists than originally expected.

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Rubbing salt into the wound, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross suggested that he has been in talks with “frustrated” SNP MSPs in Holyrood about them following Lisa Cameron into his party.

However, Ms Forbes, who Ross name checked, is now understood to be preparing for a new leadership challenge. A party source said: “Humza could be ousted in weeks or it could be after the election next year.

“We are going nowhere fast and there is a real danger we are going to be wiped out unless things change.”

Another source said: “The deal with the Scottish Greens is a real problem.” Yousaf’s former mentor and ex-SNP First Minister Alex Salmond, now leader of the Alba Party, has also speculated that Yousaf had “days to save his job” after the Rutherglen result.

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