HUMZA Yousaf has called for more "respect" in the SNP leadership race after Joanna Cherry shared a post from Wings Over Scotland claiming that he wants to sterilise gay and autistic children.

The Health Secretary said that nobody “with common decency” would have shared the post from controversial blogger Stuart Campbell.

Cherry’s retweet – which her spokesperson said was a "mistake" that had been corrected – has led to complaints being submitted to party officials.

The post read: “Humza Yousaf wants to trans gay and autistic kids, sterilise them and deprive them of sexual pleasure for their entire adult life.”

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf brands Joanna Cherry leadership contest claim 'desperate'

Asked if he thought the party should take action against Cherry, Yousaf said: “I think that was an abhorrent tweet and anybody with common decency wouldn’t have given that any oxygen or any publicity.”

He went on: “I know that Joanna Cherry, in fairness to her, deleted her tweet, that’s my understanding.

“Look, we’re one party, we’re one movement. We’re only going to get our independence if we stay united, so I would ask anybody who is involved, regardless of who you’re backing – and everybody has a right to back whatever candidate they want – to just maintain a respect because people, the entire country is watching this leadership debate, and I think we have to make sure we conduct it in a respectful manner.”

Yousaf was speaking from Kelvingrove Park during a visit to Glasgow University as part of his campaign to take over from Nicola Sturgeon as first minister and SNP leader.

He was joined by Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson, who on Tuesday came out in support of Yousaf’s leadership campaign. He said the Health Secretary represented the progressive party the SNP had become.

Asked about Cherry’s retweet, Robertson said it was a matter for SNP officials to deal with.

He told The National: “I understand that the issue has already been reported so it’s a matter for the official probe.

“We have internal processes and it’s for those processes to take their course and not for me to comment on them now.”

After a backlash against her retweet, Cherry deleted her post. She put the same text up again in response to a post from Yousaf. It said: “Currently #LGBT rights are protected under the #EqualityAct along with sex-based rights, disability religion & belief etc.

“In 2014 @theSNP promised to enshrine anti-discrimination laws for all protected characteristics in the constitution of an #indy Scotland.”

READ MORE: The SNP are a party not a movement - and power has pushed them away from grassroots

A spokesperson for Cherry said: "Joanna had intended to comment on a tweet by Humza Yousaf and made a mistake when doing so.

"She has corrected that mistake. The only people attempting to 'derail' the contest are those trying to prevent an open debate and a free and frank exchange of views.

"Ms Hunter may make a complaint to the National Secretary if she wishes.

"Joanna is still waiting for a response from the National Secretary to Joanna's complaint in January 2021 over a defamatory letter about Joanna in which Mhairi Hunter participated during the NEC elections in November 2020."