HUMZA Yousaf has said he will ask for a Section 30 order “right away” just hours after he took over in the top job.

Yousaf, who has been Scottish Health Secretary since 2021, succeeds Nicola Sturgeon in that role, and will now be formally elected by MSPs as Scotland’s sixth first minister on Tuesday.

He recorded a narrow victory over rival Kate Forbes once second preference votes were taken into account when Ash Regan was eliminated from the contest after the first round of voting.

Speaking to ITV News after his victory, Yousaf said he would seek the powers to hold another referendum “right away”.

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Such powers could be granted under Section 30 of the Scotland Act, allowing the Scottish Parliament to legislate for a referendum on independence – widely seen by Yousaf’s wing of the party as the “gold standard” for achieving separation.

But shortly after his comment, the UK Government moved to quash it.

“I think you know our well-established position,” the Prime Minister’s spokesman told reporters.

“Reducing inflation, dealing with the cost of living, tackling backlogs, those are the issues the public care about.

“That’s what the Government will be focused on.

“More broadly, you’ve heard the Levelling Up Secretary congratulate Humza Yousaf on his election as leader of the Scottish National Party and, of course, the Prime Minister looks forward to working with him in the future.”

The official said he was not aware of any formal request having been made by Yousaf.

Yousaf described himself as the “luckiest man in the world” after he won the race to succeed Nicola Sturgeon on Monday.

In a speech after his victory was announced, he pledged to “dedicate every waking moment” to serving the people of Scotland.

He will be the first person from an ethnic minority background to be first minister and the first Muslim to lead the country – as well as the youngest ever first minister.

The 37-year old recalled how his grandparents had moved from the Punjab to Scotland more than six decades ago.

He said: “As immigrants to this country, who knew barely a word of English, they could not have imagined in their wildest dreams that their grandson would one day be on the cusp of being the next first minister of Scotland.”

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The new leader continued: “We should all take pride in the fact that today we have sent a clear message, that your colour of skin, or your faith, is not a barrier to leading the country we all call home.

“From the Punjab to our Parliament, this is a journey over generations that reminds us that we should be celebrating and always celebrate the migrants who contribute so much to our country.”

Also in his speech, Yousaf pledged to “kickstart” a grassroots campaign that would “ensure our drive for independence is in fifth gear”.

The new SNP leader added: “The people of Scotland need independence now more than ever before, and we will be the generation that delivers independence for Scotland.”