FIRST Minister Humza Yousaf is to face a no-confidence vote in the Scottish Parliament and, with the Greens furious after he fired their two co-leaders from government, a victory for the SNP chief is not set in stone.

Whether Yousaf will survive the no-confidence vote, and whether he can govern at the head of a minority government, are up in the air for now.

How many MSPs are there in Holyrood from each party?

After the 2021 Holyrood elections, the SNP had enough MSPs to split the chamber’s 129 seats in two.

The SNP returned 64 MSPs, which exactly matched the 64 from the four opposition parties combined (once the presiding officer was removed).

However, there are now five opposition parties in the Scottish parliament with a total of 65 seats, thanks to the defection of Ash Regan from the SNP to Alba.

That means the SNP now have 63 MSPs in total.

Overall, the Scottish Parliament breaks down like this:

  • 63 SNP MSPs
  • 31 Tory MSPs
  • 22 Labour MSPs
  • Seven Green MSPs
  • Four LibDem MSPs
  • One Alba MSP
  • One presiding officer, formerly Green MSP Alison Johnstone

As such, if all of the five opposition parties unite, Yousaf could potentially lose the vote of no-confidence in his leadership. That is assuming that no SNP rebels join the opposition.

What have the opposition parties said on how they will vote?

The Tories will back the motion of no-confidence, which is no surprise considering it was lodged by their group leader.

Scottish Labour have also said they will back the Conservatives’ motion, as will the Scottish LibDems.

Ash Regan (below), Alba’s sole MSP, has said she will be writing to the First Minister and voting depending on his answer.

The National: Ash Regan made a direct appeal to female voters at an Alba Party event on Saturday

The Scottish Greens said on Thursday afternoon that their MSPs had decided they would vote to back a no confidence motion in Yousaf.

The text of the motion, lodged by Scots Tory leader Douglas Ross, states: “That the Parliament has no confidence in the First Minister, in light of his failures in government.”

The additional “in light of his failures in government” tacked on the end may make it more difficult for the Greens to back the motion, given that they were in the government until Thursday morning.

Green co-leader Patrick Harvie told the BBC his party would back a simple motion of no confidence in Yousaf, but may make a different decision if the motion included criticism of progressive policies or the entire government.

What happens if Humza Yousaf loses the no-confidence vote in his leadership?

If Humza Yousaf loses the no-confidence vote, then he will not be forced to resign as First Minister.

The Scotland Act 1998, which created the Holyrood parliament, states: “The First Minister may at any time tender his resignation to Her Majesty and shall do so if the Parliament resolves that the [Scottish Government] no longer enjoys the confidence of the Parliament.”

This section of the Act therefore relates to a no-confidence motion in the entire government, not an individual minister – even if that individual is the First Minister.

The National: First Minister Humza Yousaf

Instead, it will be up to Yousaf how to respond if he loses a no-confidence vote – although the pressure may be immense.

The Scottish Parliament said in a briefing sent to journalists: “A simple majority in relation to votes of no confidence in Ministers or in the Government requires only the number of members voting ‘for' to be greater than those 'against' – no account is taken of any members who abstain.

“If there is a vote of no-confidence in the First Minister it would be up to the First Minister how they responded once the will of the Parliament had been made clear.

“If there is a vote of no-confidence in the Government – both the First Minister and Ministers are required to resign.

“In that case the Parliament is not automatically dissolved, instead the Parliament has 28 days to choose a new First Minister (by simple majority) (Section 46 of the Scotland Act).

“If it cannot do so, Parliament is dissolved.”