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Politics latest news: Kate Forbes pulls out of SNP leadership race



“I have listened very carefully to the vision John Swinney set out this morning for Scotland. I welcomed, and embrace, his commitment to ensure internal respect for robust and divergent debate in the party, which is the lifeblood of any democratic institution like the SNP.

“I was also greatly heartened by his drive to restore a sense of courtesy and dignity to the way we conduct ourselves as a party and as a Parliament. If we want to rewin the trust of the people, tone and language matter in the way we conduct ourselves.

“I have also had the opportunity to speak directly with him to discuss the future of our party and our country. Those discussions on the future of the SNP and our vision for Scotland were both frank and constructive. What emerged was that we share a powerful common purpose for the country.

“That includes a passion to revitalise our party, reach out to those who feel disempowered and reinvigorate the independence movement.

“It also includes an understanding that economic growth and tackling poverty must again be key priorities, and that a just transition to ‘net zero’ must work with, and not against, our communities and businesses. But more than that, John is clear that he is determined to return the SNP to governing from the mainstream. Competent, candid government earning the trust of the people.

“That was the vision I offered in the last leadership contest, and is evidently demanded by the Scottish public. I have therefore weighed the decision whether or not to seek the leadership of the party with great care. Ultimately, I have concluded that the best way to deliver the urgent change Scotland needs is to join with John Swinney and advocate for that reform agenda within the Scottish Government.

“I can therefore today announce that I will not be seeking nomination as the next SNP leader. John will therefore have my support and endorsement in any campaign to follow. 

“I sincerely thank every party member, and each of my parliamentary colleagues in Holyrood and Westminster, who have been in touch to urge me to stand. I recognise many people might be disappointed that I will not be contesting the position of leader at this time. To those people I say this – you can be certain that delivering on the priorities for which we have, together, advocated in recent years has been at the heart of today’s decision.

“It is now clear from this morning’s statement that in John Swinney we have someone who not only understands that need for reform, but has now committed to delivering it. I look forward to playing my role in making that happen.”

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