HUMZA Yousaf has said that his is the “generation that delivers independence for Scotland” as he offered an olive branch to his opponents after clinching victory in the SNP leadership race.

The new SNP leader, who is expected to voted in as first minister on Tuesday, said he wanted to unite the party after a bruising election campaign, which saw two senior SNP figures resign over secrecy and controversy.

Pledging to heal “divisions” within the party brought to focus by the contest, Yousaf said: “We have a job to do and as a Party we are at our strongest when we are united, and what unites is our shared goal of delivering independence for our nation.”

Taking questions from the media afterwards, Yousaf said he hoped to meet with the two unsuccessful candidates immediately - but would not commit to giving them roles in his cabinet when pressed on the issue

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In his first speech as SNP leader, Yousaf pledged to bring over No voters to Yes and said his immediate priority was to “protect every Scot as far as we can from the harm inflicted by the cost of living crisis”.

'One team' 

He added: “And as first minister I will not shy away from the tough challenges, those that require the difficult decisions, but where there is that challenge, I will use it to find opportunity.

“My government will seize the economic and social opportunities of the journey to net zero, a country as energy rich as Scotland should not have people living in fuel poverty.

“The government I lead will renew and redouble our efforts to lift people out of poverty, to make work fair and make our economy work for people, and to ensure as we become a more prosperous country we also become a fairer country.

The National:

“And while I have had my fair share of battles with the UK Government over the years, and there may well be some more to come. I will work with them, and with other devolved nations constructively where I can in the best interests of our nation.

READ MORE: Scottish Greens react to Humza Yousaf becoming SNP leader

“I am a proud Scot, and equally a proud European too, and Scotland is a European nation. We want to return to the European Union and play our part in building a continent based on human rights, peace, prosperity and social justice.

“To the people of Scotland, the SNP has earned your trust by governing well, by ensuring that our priorities are your priorities.

“As a party, and a povernment, we are at our best when we are radical and bold and the challenges we face today require nothing less of us.

“That is what I promise the people of Scotland if parliament puts its trust in me tomorrow. Joining the SNP, for me, was an act of hope and also statement of intent.

“I was determined then, as I am now, as the 14th leader of this great party, that we will deliver independence for Scotland – together as a team. Leadership elections by their nature can be bruising, however, in the SNP we are a family.

“Over the last five weeks we may have been competitors or supporters of different candidates, but from today – we are no longer team Humza, Ash or Kate, we are one team, and we will be the team, we will be the generation that delivers independence for Scotland.”