Scottish government to face vote of no confidence

Scottish government
Humza Yousaf's ministers would be compelled to stand down if the no-confidence vote passes [Getty Images]

The Scottish government is set to face a vote of no confidence at Holyrood which could see all ministers compelled to resign if it passes.

The Labour motion was tabled after First Minister Humza Yousaf scrapped the Bute House power-sharing agreement with the Greens last week.

The move piled pressure on Mr Yousaf who eventually announced his decision to resign on Monday.

The vote is unlikely to pass without the support of the Greens, who called for it to be withdrawn after the first minister confirmed he would be stepping down.

Mr Yousaf is expected to speak in defence of his government's record during the debate on Wednesday.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said his party was pressing ahead with the motion despite Mr Yousaf resigning because he did not believe the SNP could provide "stable, competent government".

Mr Sarwar told BBC Radio Scotland: "It's of course for other political parties to decide how they vote in that motion, but I think the principle still applies in our motion and that's why we're pushing ahead."

The Labour vote of no confidence in the government, as well as a separate Tory motion of no confidence in the first minister, were tabled last week as Mr Yousaf's premiership imploded following his decision to tear up a power-sharing agreement with the Scottish Greens.

Anas Sarwar
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar says he does not believe the SNP can provide competent government [Getty Images]

The Greens had said they would back the Tory confidence motion, which potentially would have left the first minister relying on ex-SNP minister and Alba's sole MSP, Ash Regan, to avoid defeat in a vote.

But Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross confirmed on Tuesday that his party had withdrawn its proposal.

"As it's job done in terms of Humza Yousaf, there's no longer any need for us to press ahead with a debate on our no-confidence motion," he said.

What is a no confidence vote?

In general terms, a no-confidence vote is a formal expression from a decision-making body on whether officers or leaders are fit to continue in office.

The Scottish Parliament defines it as a motion that says some MSPs do not have confidence in a government minister, the first minister, or all Scottish ministers.

So in this case, it is motion that will declare the SNP government unfit to stay in power.

All Scottish ministers would be compelled to stand down if it is voted through, with parliament given 28 days to appoint a new first minister. If it fails to do so, a snap election would be called.

While Labour, the Tories and the Liberal Democrats are likely to back the motion, scheduled for about 15:00 on Wednesday, it would likely need the support of seven Green MSPs to pass.

But Scottish Greens business manager Gillian Mackay urged Mr Sarwar to withdraw the proposed vote.

“Like the withdrawn Tory motion, the Labour one has clearly been overtaken by events," she said.

"Pursuing it would achieve nothing, and would simply mean more parliamentary game playing."