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The National (Scotland)
The National (Scotland)
Hamish Morrison

SNP leadership candidates speak after private hustings event

SNP leadership candidates have spoken out after party members grilled leadership hopefuls behind closed doors.

The online event went ahead in private today after the previous three were livestreamed for all to watch.

Kate Forbes has said she made the case for a wellbeing economy during the two-hour event.

Meanwhile, rival Humza Yousaf said he had spoken about the importance of bringing the party and the country "together". 

Forbes told The National: “Today's hustings focused on how each candidate would lead the SNP and deliver independence.

"I spoke about the importance of a wellbeing economy to achieving Scotland’s potential, using economic prosperity to eradicate poverty.

"It was well attended with attendees from across Scotland."

Yousaf added: "I have been proud of my campaign seeking to reach as many members as possible all over Scotland.

"I spoke about the importance of bringing our party and our country together and how I will re-energise our movement, kickstarting a renewed campaign for independence.

"Our success in recent decades is down to the hard work and graft of our top class activists who have paved the way for an independent Scotland to now be considered an inevitability."

Ash Regan said: "The hustings have been an exciting opportunity to set out each of our stalls for the way forward not only for the party, but for independence.

"There are many challenges the new leader will face from the NHS to the cost of living crisis - we must bring in the very talent to ensure we deliver for the people of Scotland". 

The race to replace Nicola Sturgeon as SNP leader and first minister is heating up with candidates marking themselves apart on issues such as independence strategy.

Regan has proposed the “voter empowerment mechanism” which would see the SNP treat every election as a de facto referendum, saying that were the party to win more than 50% of the vote at the next General Election, she would expect to enter exit negotiations with the UK Government on that basis.

Meanwhile, Yousaf has said the SNP is too bogged down in discussions of strategy and that the party needed to make the case for a progressive Scotland and that in doing so, support for independence would increase.

He has also proposed beefing up the party’s independence campaigning with a series of activist workshops and a revamp of Yes literature to convince undecided voters.

For her part, Forbes has said Scotland should aim to hold an independence referendum within three months of the next General Election and said that the prospectus for independence must be revised and “written by the party and not by the British civil service”.

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