THE SNP’s most senior MP has said it is "disappointing" that First Minister Humza Yousaf has declined to appear in front of the Westminster committee he chairs.

Pete Wishart, who is the SNP’s longest serving MP and the chair of the Scottish Affairs Committee, said the invitation remains open to Yousaf to give evidence as part of an inquiry into intergovernmental relations since the reconvening of the Scottish parliament in 1999.

All of the other living Scottish politicians who have served as first minister have confirmed that they will appear to be quizzed by MPs in the first half of 2024.

Alex Salmond is set to appear first, with a date set for February 19. Nicola Sturgeon, Henry McLeish, and Jack McConnell will all appear later.

Wishart said: “It’s disappointing that the First Minister isn’t able to give evidence to the committee, citing a similar outlook to previous serving first ministers – that his primary responsibility, while in office, is to the Scottish Parliament.

“The invitation remains open if Mr Yousaf’s availability changes.”

The Scottish Affairs Committee said that Yousaf had confirmed he would be unable to attend a hearing in a letter dated January 4.

The committee is interviewing first ministers as part of its inquiry titled Intergovernmental Relations: 25 years since the Scotland Act 1998.

So far, the inquiry has received written evidence from former prime ministers Tony Blair and the now Foreign Secretary David Cameron, as well as hearing from former UK Government ministers and senior civil servants to assess whether the intergovernmental processes have delivered on the aspirations of politicians in 1998.

A “number of former secretaries of state for Scotland” will also give evidence, the Scottish Affairs Committee said.

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Other MPs on the Scottish Affairs Committee include Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross and MP David Duguid, LibDems Wendy Chamberlain and Christine Jardine, and Labour MP Andrew Western.

MPs are probing the impact of the Intergovernmental Relations Review (IGR) framework which was introduced in 2022, as well as the longer-term relationship between the UK Government and its devolved counterpart.

At the time of the IGR launch, then deputy first minister John Swinney said: “This rebranding of existing structures will not deliver the step change in attitude and behaviour from the UK Government that is needed if there is to be a genuine improvement in intergovernmental relations – what is urgently needed is a corresponding change in the substance of engagement.”

The Welsh Government also raised concerns that the Tory government would not honour the “spirit” of the reform and continue on with poor engagement with its devolved counterparts.