HUMZA Yousaf has said he is “happy” to be labelled the continuity candidate in the SNP leadership race.

The Health Secretary made the comment after he was asked about his rival Ash Regan’s claim that she represents change while he stands for more of the same.

Yousaf said: “If it means continuing Nicola Sturgeon’s eight election victories, if it means continuing the fact that we are the most popular party, if it means continuing the fact that we have a socially progressive agenda that’s won us more and more support, if it means continuing our independence support to dizzying heights, then I’m happy for people to label me that.”

READ MORE: Ash Regan's independence referendum plans not 'realistic', Humza Yousaf says

He went on: “But I’m my own person. I have my own leadership style. I have my own style of working across the party to harness the various different talents that we have. So yes, I’ll make my case, I’ll leave Ash Regan to make hers.”

Yousaf also said that he would challenge the UK Government’s use of Section 35 to block the Gender Reform Recognition (GRR) Bill from becoming law.

Regan has instead said that the Tories’ block should be allowed to stand. She told The Herald that legal action would “be very costly” and she would expect the UK Government to win.

“A clear and decisive majority of the Scottish people disagree with self-ID,” Regan went on.

“They would rather we focused on the issues affecting their day-to-day lives, and especially the cost-of-living crisis, rising energy bills and improving our health service.”

The National:

However, Yousaf (above) said that the block on the GRR had to be challenged on principle to stop the UK Government from using Section 35 to block further Scottish legislation in the future.

He said: “It’s a point of principle. Whether you agree with GRR or disagree with GRR, the point is this: this is the first time the UK Government have taken the red pen to a piece of legislation that has been passed by the majority of the Scottish Parliament.

“If we lay down, if we cave in over this Section 35, the first Section 35, then every time the UK Government disagrees with legislation passed by the Scottish Parliament, they will strike it down. We simply cannot allow that to happen.”

Yousaf added: “I think the principle is incredibly important and I think even people who disagree with the substance of the bill, many of them agree that the principle must be defended.”

Kate Forbes, who polling suggests is the frontrunner in the SNP leadership race, has expressed a view on the GRR bill similar to Regan’s.

Forbes told the BBC she would be "loath to challenge" the UK Government's decision to block the reforms, but also accepted that it was a point of principle.

She said: "I understand the principle here, which is that the UK Government should not overturn Scottish legislation. That is an important principle which I hold to.

"But I think on this ... seek legal advice and recognise it is not a priority right now for the people of Scotland, who are focused on other things."