HUMZA Yousaf is the only candidate who will stand-up against “seedy” Westminster power grabs, according to an SNP MSP.

Neil Gray, who endorsed Yousaf’s campaign to become the SNP’s leader and the next first minister of Scotland last week, said that no “self-respecting” leader can allow attempts to block legislation passed in the Scottish Parliament to go unchallenged.

Kate Forbes has said she is “unlikely” to challenge the UK Government’s blocking of the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill while Ash Regan has said she would not be progressing the bill if elected leader.

However, Yousaf has stated that he would defend the bill against the “overreach by the UK Government.”

“We know from experience that the Tories will take any chance they can to grab the powers of our Scottish Parliament and get in the way of our democratically elected Scottish Government,” said Gray.

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“When Parliament passes a law that should be defended. We have already seen Westminster ride roughshod over the Sewell Convention and take powers from parliament over a Tory Brexit that Scotland overwhelmingly did not vote for.

“No self respecting SNP Leader can let that slide.

“It does not matter whether candidates support or oppose the Gender Recognition Bill - what matters is if they will stand up for the democratic decisions of our Scottish Parliament."

He added: “Humza is ready to defend the Parliament’s decisions, we must not simply roll over in the face of Tory government opposition. That simply isn’t acceptable for an SNP First Minister.

“I hope all candidates can unite behind Humza in always unequivocally standing up for Scotland's Parliament from sordid Westminster attacks.

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“While we build the case for independence we must also always protect the Scottish Parliament’s right to decide because we know that if you give the Tories an inch, they’ll take far more than a mile.”

In recent days, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack has hinted that the UK Government may not allow the Scottish Government’s Deposit Return Scheme to be rolled out after it was revealed that no formal request had been made for a UK Internal Market Act exemption.