KATE Forbes has rejected the suggestion that her leadership would represent a shift to the right for the SNP.

The Finance Secretary told The National that while she wants to “reset” the party, she does not believe that would mean a move rightwards of where it currently sits.

Speaking during a visit to Kilmarnock’s HALO Enterprise and Innovation Hub on Monday, Forbes said: “No, I wouldn’t [accept that]. I don’t think anybody who believes in eradicating poverty is shifting to the right.

READ MORE: Joanna Cherry claims SNP's 'party machine' is behind Humza Yousaf

“My view is that the reset I’ve talked of is a reset to prepare Scotland for the next few decades … Unless we see that fundamental shift and reform, then we will never get the benefits or better outcomes.

“My approach here is to say, look, let’s unlock economic prosperity, let’s deliver what we say we’re going to deliver, and ultimately, in places like Ayrshire for example, if you’ve got growing small businesses who are creating jobs, that is one route out of poverty.”

Siobhian Brown MSP, who is backing Forbes for leader and was also present in Kilmarnock, told The National that she represented a shift to the centre, which she accepted might be read as a shift to the right of where the party currently sits.

Brown said this was necessary to grow the support for independence beyond the baseline, which she argued the current administration has failed to do over the past eight years.

Asked about Brown’s comment, Forbes said: “I think it’s a shift to delivery … our policies are right, but it’s about delivering them.

“We firmly believe in reducing the number of children in poverty, and we’ve got some really great policies in terms of the Scottish Child Payment, but you know the only way to increase the funding that’s available to invest in the Scottish Child Payment, to invest in education, to invest in our health services, is through a growing economy.

“I’m not content to keep going cap in hand to the UK Government saying ‘will you give us some more cash’. I believe that the Scottish economy has all the potential it needs to be wealthier, not to deepen inequalities, but to raise the revenue to reinvest.”

The argument echoed the one put forward by business minister Ivan McKee in Monday’s edition of The National. McKee argued that the Scottish Government must focus on delivering its promises, saying the public “need to see us walk the walk, not just talk the talk”.

McKee (below) had been Forbes’s campaign manager at the beginning of the SNP leadership race, but has since taken a step back.

The National:

Asked why McKee had left the top campaign role, Forbes said it was to do with work constraints.

“He was overworked and exhausted,” the Finance Secretary told The National. “He was in Singapore the weekend when everything launched. I’m not sure he slept for four or five days.”

She added: “He continued to provide support, he continues to provide ideas when it comes to how we approach independence, our approach to the economy, but as the minister for trade he has quite a full in-tray.”

There was speculation early on that Forbes could drop out of the race after a rocky start saw several SNP parliamentarians withdraw their support over her views on gay marriage.

There have been further suggestions that Forbes’s views on social issues such as abortion and gender reform could present a stumbling block to the continuation of the Bute House Agreement – the deal which has seen the Greens enter government alongside the SNP.

Asked if the agreement is something she would be keen to keep in place, Forbes said: “I would be looking at working with the Greens and ensuring that where we have common cause we work together.”

Forbes also addressed concerns raised by the campaign group End Conversion Therapy Scotland that she had not backed their calls for a ban on the practice which aims to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Asked if she supported a “complete ban on conversion therapy”, Forbes said: “I support a ban on conversion therapy.”

Asked if that ban included trans people as well as LGB people, Forbes said: “I support a ban. I do not think anybody should be subjected to coercion.”

She further said that she “fully intend[s]” to reply to the ECT letter but said there are “about 500 emails” a day coming into her inbox.

“I’ve said quite unequivocally in every interview that I’ve been asked that I think conversion therapy is abhorrent and I do not think people should be coerced,” Forbes finished.