HUMZA Yousaf has expressed interest in creating a new Cabinet role to advance the case of Scottish independence in government should he become first minister.

The SNP leadership hopeful spoke to the Sunday National in-depth about his plans to achieve independence in the case that he wins the contest.

The Health Secretary argued that as the Government has been elected on a pro-independence platform, the SNP “shouldn’t be ashamed” about using those resources to further the cause.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf Q&A on advancing independence, snap election and more

It comes after Finance Secretary and fellow leadership candidate Kate Forbes suggested it shouldn’t be the Scottish Government writing the independence papers released by Nicola Sturgeon over the last year.

Forbes called for the party to take over that responsibility for building the prospectus for independence from the “British civil service”, arguing that “too few” people had been invited to contribute to the vision so far.

Speaking to the Sunday National, Yousaf disagreed with that approach. “Absolutely use the party, hear from the party and empower the party. Listen to the ideas around the independence prospectus,” he said. “But why on Earth would you not use the machinery of government to fund the cause?”

The National:

He went on: “Remember we’re elected on the platform of independence - perfectly legitimate for us to be using the Government to further that cause.

“I think it’d be exceptionally foolish to essentially disarm yourself of a really important asset in the way of the Scottish Government.”

READ MORE: Watch as SNP candidates quizzed at The National/SNP TUG hustings

And he suggested going further with a new Cabinet position to focus on the task.

“If I was first minister, hopefully as first minister, I’d be quite keen to have a Cabinet Secretary not just for the constitution – call it for advancing independence and the constitution,” he explained.

“I want it to be really clear that we’re not just going to be stuck in constitutional argy-bargy – I want it to be known that the role of that Cabinet Secretary has to advance the independence cause. We shouldn’t be ashamed about that.”

Following the Supreme Court’s judgment that the Scottish Government cannot hold a referendum without Westminster’s consent, senior UK ministers sought to block the Holyrood government from using public money on independence-related work.

The National:

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said he would look into whether Holyrood officials could legally work on indyref preparation – despite another Tory minister suggesting the Scottish Government could money on whatever it likes.

Tory peer and minister Malcolm Offord said in a Scottish Affairs Committee hearing that UK Treasury funding comes “with no strings attached”, suggesting a Cabinet Secretary for Advancing Independence would not be blocked by Westminster. However, it would be likely to provoke a constitutional row.