THE first full week of the SNP leadership race has been and gone, with the candidates setting out their case for why they should win the top job. Here we look at what Kate Forbes, Humza Yousaf and Ash Regan have said on some key issues so far.


WHEN it comes to how to achieve independence, the candidates have set out different visions of the way forward.

Yousaf has pledged to hold a ­series of regional assemblies for “honest and frank discussions” with ­members, to decide on a collective plan at the SNP’s annual conference in the ­autumn.

Yousaf said he thinks all options that are “within a legal framework” should be on the table and that he is “not wedded” to the idea of a de facto referendum.

He said he would also set out a timetable for the publication of the Scottish Government’s remaining ­independence prospectus papers.

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Forbes has outlined plans to use the next Westminster election to win a mandate to demand a Section 30 order within three months if the SNP win a majority of seats.

She said this would not mean the referendum would take place within that timescale and that would be held when there is “sustained ­majority support” for Yes, which she says is about as many people supporting ­independence as possible.

She has also proposed a ­programme of work to set out a new ­prospectus outlining what would happen in the first 10 years of Scotland ­after ­independence, which would be ­“written by the party and not the ­British civil service.”

Regan has said she intends to ­establish an independence ­convention on day one of her leadership.

She has argued the ­referendum mechanism and the de ­facto ­referendum plan had been ­“exhausted” and her plan would be to use each ­election as a mandate for ­independence if a majority of ­pro-indy seats and votes are won to begin ­negotiations on ­independence.

Regan called her plan a “voter ­empowerment mechanism” and suggested having a “readiness thermometer” to illustrate how preparations for Scottish independence are progressing.

Deposit Return Scheme

All three candidates have expressed concerns about the recycling ­initiative, which is due to go live in August.

Forbes said it was ­“well-intentioned” but could cause “economic carnage” and that it should be halted as it is not ready to be implemented as planned.

Regan has said the scheme should be paused and that it should be ­redesigned completely or scrapped.

Yousaf said he would exclude small businesses for the first year of the deposit return scheme if elected first minister.

The National: Embargoed to 1800 Monday January 22..File photo dated 14/03/13 of used plastic bottles. Scottish ministers have called on the UK Government to follow their lead and bring in a deposit return scheme for drinks bottles. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date:

National Care Service (NCS)

Regan has said she will “immediately pause” the Scottish Government’s plans to roll out a national care service if she wins the contest. She said she is committed to the ­proposal, but wants it to be co-designed with all the key stakeholders involved.

Forbes while saying she is “hugely supportive” of the NCS, has also suggested a rethink and pledged to ­decentralise the approach to support local services.

Health Secretary Yousaf, who has played a central role in the NCS plan, has also said he would be open to overhauling it to see if there are areas of compromise with those who oppose it.

READ MORE: SNP group join calls to pause National Care Service plans


Both Yousaf and Forbes have ­supported the proposals which have already been set out by the Scottish Government for currency after independence.

This would mean an independent Scotland would continue to use sterling for a time, before moving to a Scottish currency “as soon as ­practicable”.

However Regan has signalled a preference for a speedier process, saying she begin work to take steps which would allow the ­introduction of a Scottish currency “within months” of leaving the UK.

The National: Scottish money and saltire purse

Gender reform

The Scottish Parliament has passed legislation which changes the ­process to get a gender recognition certificate, but the reform has ground to a halt after Scottish Secretary Alister Jack blocked it by triggering a Section 35 order under the Scotland Act.

Regan, who quit the ­government last October over the Gender ­Recognition Reform (GRR), said she would not launch a legal challenge to the UK Government’s blocking of it as it would costly and “I don’t think we would win”.

She argued most Scottish people would rather focus on issues such as the cost of living crisis, but added: “If there was an appetite in the country for it, I’d be happy to hand this over to a citizen’s assembly.”

READ MORE: Sue Gray opposed Tories blocking Scotland's Gender Reform Bill

Forbes, who was on maternity leave when Holyrood voted on the legislation, has said she would have rebelled against plans in their ­current form. She has said she will seek legal advice but would prefer to “sort out the issues ourselves” rather than taking the matter to court.

Yousaf has pledged to challenge the Section 35 order – saying that it is about the “principle of our ­democracy”. He argued the party has to be seen to be standing up for devolution to assure voters it can be trusted with ­independence and has said he will also fight for Section 35 orders to be scrapped completely.

Equal marriage

The issue of equal marriage has proved to be a thorny one for Forbes and Yousaf so far.

Forbes, who is a member of the Free Church of Scotland, was criticised and lost support from several SNP politicians after she said she would not have backed the legislation for same-sex marriage had she been an MSP at the time.

Following the backlash she released a statement saying she would ­uphold current laws and also ”seek to ­enhance the rights of everybody to live in a way which enables them to flourish.”

Yousaf has also come under ­scrutiny over the issue as he missed a key vote in 2014 on legislation for same-sex marriage due to a meeting over the case of a Scottish citizen on death row in Pakistan.

There have been claims he skipped it intentionally due to “religious ­pressure”. But Yousaf, a practising Muslim, has said his absence from the vote is being “dragged up” for political reasons and he does not ­believe gay sex is a sin.

Regan, who was elected as an MSP in 2016, has said she firmly supports the right to equal marriage.