Humza Yousaf resigns as Scotland's first minister

Humza Yousaf has resigned as Scotland's first minister after cutting ties with his government's power-sharing partners.

The leader of the SNP, who only took on the role in March last year, has been at the centre of a chaotic few days in Holyrood after he made the surprise announcement to end his power-sharing deal with the Scottish Green Party on Thursday.

Mr Yousaf cut ties following a bitter row over the SNP's climbdown on climate targets as he said the agreement between the parties had "served its purpose".

But as a result, his former Green allies teamed up with the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats to get behind two no-confidence motions, one in himself as leader of Scotland and another regarding the entire Scottish government.

Follow latest: Emotional Yousaf announces resignation

Ahead of any of those votes taking place, Mr Yousaf stepped down as Scotland's first minister just after midday on Monday as he said he was "not willing to treat my values and principles or do deals with whomever simply for retaining power".

He said he will remain in post until a replacement first minister is chosen.

Over the weekend, Mr Yousaf insisted he would not resign but by Monday morning his tune had changed and Sky News was told he was considering resigning.

He was due to meet the Alba Party's sole MSP, Ash Regan, who was set to make demands in exchange for her support during a confidence vote. Her vote could have been the decider but he chose to step down before it came to that.

Announcing he was quitting, Mr Yousaf said he "clearly underestimated the level of hurt and upset" he caused the Greens when he cut ties with them.

"To my colleagues in opposition, regardless of political party, genuinely, I bear no ill will and certainly no grudge against anyone," he said as his voice broke while thanking his wife, children and family for "putting up with me over the years".

Mr Yousaf said it had been "an honour" to serve as first minister of Scotland and it was a role he "could never have dreamt" of as a young boy growing up there.

Read more: The life, political path and controversies of Humza Yousaf

The politician, whose parents are Pakistani and Kenyan, also said he is evidence multiculturalism has flourished in the UK.

"People who looked like me were not in positions of political influence, let alone leading governments, when I was younger," he said.

"We now live in a UK that has a British Hindu prime minister, a Muslim mayor of London, a black Welsh first minister, and for a little while longer a Scottish Asian first minister of this country.

"So for those who decry that multiculturalism has failed across the UK, I would suggest that the evidence is quite to the contrary and that is something we should all celebrate."

Mr Yousaf said he was proud to have overseen "the most progressive" tax system in the UK and played a part in lifting an expected 100,000 children out of poverty this year.

He added that he will continue to campaign for independence, which he said "feels frustratingly close" and he is "absolutely certain" his successor will achieve it.

Who will replace Humza Yousaf?

The race to replace Mr Yousaf has now commenced, with several names in the fray, although none have officially thrown their hats in the ring.

Close ally of Mr Yousaf, John Swinney, former deputy leader under Nicola Sturgeon, is being touted as the favourite and SNP deputy leader Keith Brown has publicly called for him to put himself forward.

Mr Swinney said he has been "overwhelmed" by messages from "many colleagues" who have asked him to stand and said he is considering it but "there is lots to think about" and will make an announcement in the coming days.

Sky's Scotland correspondent Connor Gillies said if he does run it will be difficult for any other candidate to make headway in the race as he is an elder statesman and is highly respected and seen as a man of integrity within the party.

Stephen Flynn, the SNP's Westminster leader, has also been mentioned as has Kate Forbes who lost out to Mr Yousaf during last year's leadership contest.

Read more: Who could replace Humza Yousaf as Scotland's first minister?

Nicola Sturgeon, who Mr Yousaf replaced after she resigned last year, said he had "conducted himself with grace, dignity and integrity - both as first minister and in the manner of his leaving".

Alba's Ms Regan said it was "bizarre" some SNP MSPs would rather he resigned than do a deal with her pro-independence party, led by rival and former SNP leader Alex Salmond.

Scottish Labour said the episode has shown the SNP government is "dysfunctional, chaotic and divided" and is "out of ideas and incapable of rising to the challenges Scotland faces" - as they called for an election to prevent another unelected first minister.

The Scottish Conservatives, who had brought the no-confidence vote, said they had "forced Humza Yousaf out of office for repeatedly failing Scotland".

"Faced with our vote of no confidence, the SNP leader has quit rather than face a humiliating defeat," said leader Douglas Ross as he called for the next first minister to "abandon the nationalist obsession with independence".

A spokesman for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he will work with Mr Yousaf's successor to deliver "on the real issues that matter to people" and said most people do not want to be distracted by the inner workings of politics but "want to see their governments working together to deliver on their priorities".