HUMZA Yousaf’s campaign has received help from a top aide to Nicola Sturgeon, it is understood. 

A spokesperson for the SNP leadership contender did not deny that the Health Secretary was being advised by Liz Lloyd, a long-time senior adviser to the outgoing First Minister, after claims were reported in The Scottish Sun. 

The paper reported Lloyd, who has worked for Nicola Sturgeon since 2015, had been aiding Yousaf’s campaign, quoting sources who claimed her alleged involvement showed the party’s old guard was rallying around the Health Secretary, the self-confessed “continuity candidate”.

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A spokesperson for Yousaf said: "The campaign team is Neil Gray, Shona Robison, myself and a small group of voluntary party members. 

"Not denying there has been some advice in line with the SpAd code ... but the campaign is being led and run by those mentioned above.  

"Any personal advice offered outside of that campaign team is not for me to be privy to or comment on." 

The National:

It comes after prominent figures within the SNP hierarchy, including the party’s leader in Westminster Stephen Flynn and the second-most senior figure in Government John Swinney, came out in favour of Yousaf taking over as party leader.

Yousaf has faced accusations of being selected by SNP high command – but has previously insisted he is his “own man”.

The Health Secretary said previously: “I’ll bring my own leadership style when I’m the first minister of Scotland but let me say this much – if continuity means continuing 15 years of winning elections, which means 15 years of growing support for independence, if it means 15 years of being the national government of Scotland, then I think that continuity is no bad thing.”

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The Scottish Sun reported a source as saying: “SNP HQ is panicking about Kate winning.

"This is more evidence of that.”

Lloyd became the First Minister’s chief of staff in 2015, leaving that role in August 2021, when she became a strategic policy and political adviser to Sturgeon.

A Scottish Government spokesperson told the paper: “In line with the special adviser code of conduct, special advisers are permitted to assist with party leadership elections, in their own time, while still employed by the Government."