NICOLA Sturgeon has paid tribute to all three candidates who competed in the SNP leadership race after Humza Yousaf was announced as her successor.

After weeks of campaigning, the Scottish Health Secretary has been chosen to lead the party after beating Kate Forbes and Ash Regan to the top job.

In a post on Twitter, Sturgeon said: “I pay tribute to all 3 candidates for @theSNP leadership for rising to the challenge.

“Most of all I congratulate @HumzaYousaf and wish him every success. He will be an outstanding leader & first minister and I could not be prouder to have him succeed me.”

Sturgeon’s outgoing deputy John Swinney also offered a message of support to Yousaf on his social media. 

“Warmest congratulations to @HumzaYousaf on his election as @theSNP leader. I wish him well in the challenges of leadership and in serving all of Scotland”, he said. 

Other prominent figures within the SNP also offered messages of congratulations, including Culture Secretary Angus Robertson. 

He said: “The first minister designate will become the first Muslim leader of a democratic Western European nation. 

“Another historic glass-ceiling smashed after @nicolasturgeon served 8 years as the first female First Minister of Scotland.”