A SMALL number of SNP MSPs wouldn’t vote to allow Kate Forbes to become first minister should she win the party’s leadership contest, according to reports.

The Daily Record suggests there are six SNP members in Holyrood who would refuse to follow protocol to give Forbes the top job, and that the seven Green MSPs would quit the Government if she succeeded in the race.

Forbes currently has the highest level of support from party voters among the candidates, according to a poll released on Friday by The BIG Partnership.

The Finance Secretary’s support among 2021 party backers sat at 28%, followed by Humza Yousaf on 20% and Ash Regan on 7%. Some 31% are undecided.

Despite Forbes’s apparent popularity among SNP voters, she caused a major row this week after saying she would have voted against equal marriage in 2014 and suggested she would have voted the same way again now.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf agrees to SNP hustings as pressure builds on Kate Forbes

She also said having children outside of marriage would be “wrong” for her. Despite calls for her to step out of the race, Forbes decided to keep fighting and attempted to reset her campaign on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Forbes said she was “heartsore” for the “hurt” caused by her comments, and promised to “uphold the laws that have been won”.

Forbes’s statement was divisive, with some praising her honesty and others continuing to question her suitability to represent all of Scotland as first minister.

An SNP source, speaking to the Record, suggested the damage had been done among certain representatives in Holyrood.

“Very strong feelings have been aroused in the early days of this campaign because issues raised are so fundamental to who we are as a party, a people and a government,” they said.

“Who we are matters to politicians and it shapes how they vote. Some MSPs will not vote for Kate as first minister, given what she has said.”

Can MSPs really block someone from becoming first minister?

Yes, they can.

The SNP leadership election only determines who will be the next SNP leader.

The candidates must have at least 100 nominations from SNP members from at least 20 branches. Once the Friday 24, midday deadline is passed, the ballot will officially open on March 13. Voters will determine the next leader using the STV system.

This will close on March 27 and the result will be announced the same day.

That person does not automatically become first minister. The FM is appointed by MSPs, who vote on their pick. That means technically any MSP can become FM if they can command majority support in the Parliament.

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In practice this usually means the FM is the leader of the party with the most MSPs, so the SNP won’t be too concerned about losing control of the Government.

After the first minister tenders their resignation to the King, the Parliament has 28 days to choose their successor.

If those 28 days pass without MSPs agreeing on a replacement, the Presiding Officer has the power to call a Holyrood election. This, in theory, could block Forbes from taking office.

It could also result in another SNP/Green majority, and the same thing happening all over again.

Alternatively, if more than 13 pro-independence MSPs voted against Forbes and pro-Union parties rallied around another candidate (eg Anas Sarwar), Labour could potentially take control of the Scottish Government.

Is this likely to happen?

SNP MP Angus MacNeil doesn’t think so. He suggested the possibility of blocking Forbes from office is “nonsense”.

He tweeted: “No MSP would be as treacherous to the membership and stupid enough for immediate deselection ...”

However, the situation would not be impossible.