THE three contenders in the race to take over as SNP leader have been challenged to take part in a live, in-person hustings event by the party’s largest affiliated group.

The SNP Trade Union Group (SNPTUG), which represents some 12,000 party members, has invited Humza Yousaf, Kate Forbes, and Ash Regan to the event.

If the three accept the challenge, the event will take place on March 12, and will be run in association with The National. Other media will be invited.

Yousaf, Forbes, and Regan have all said they would take part in televised hustings, which The National understands both the BBC and STV have been in touch with the party looking to organise.

READ MORE: Televised SNP leadership debates set to go ahead as broadcasters make plans

The SNPTUG said that the hustings planned for March 12 would be focused on “issues of primary concern to all Scotland’s working people and communities – particularly its 600,000 trade unionists – arising from the current cost-of-living crisis”.

Bill Ramsay, the group’s convener, said: “It is vital that the next leader of our party and first minister of Scotland is attuned to the needs and wishes of people across our nation for decent jobs and conditions, a strong NHS and public services, a just economy, a sustainable energy future, and more.

“In inviting the leadership contenders to the first major hustings event of this contest, we have stressed the link between these key concerns and the debate about the path to Scotland’s future. We look forward to positive responses from the candidates shortly.”

The National’s editor, Laura Webster, added: “We are pleased to be associated with this event and anticipate a positive, lively, forward-looking conversation about Scotland’s present and future.”

The SNPTUG said that further details of the event, which is planned to be both online and in-person, would be made available after the candidates had responded.

The group said that “a major figure from the trade union movement”, independent of party politics, had been invited to chair the event.

Ramsay said: “This political conversation is about the leader of the Scottish Government as well as our party.

“We feel it is important that the chair should be someone of stature who can ensure that the concerns of all trade unionists and the great majority of the working people and communities across Scotland are central to the debate.”

The three candidates have been approached for comment.