A KATE Forbes ally has claimed having John Swinney as SNP leader would lead to “more of the same” as he urged the party against clinging to “what we think feels comfortable”.

SNP MSP Ivan McKee has warned the SNP against a “superficially attractive” coronation of Swinney as leader, as he described the former deputy first minister as a “continuity candidate” – a common term attached to Humza Yousaf in the leadership contest last year.

He said choosing Swinney as leader would be “eerily reminiscent” of opting for Yousaf in 2023.

“And we all know how well that turned out,” said McKee in a column for the Daily Record.

Nominations for the party leadership close on Monday and the winner of any contest is almost certain to be first minister.

In the article, McKee said the SNP needed “not to be timid” as he insisted Forbes was an “outstanding talent” who can reach part of the electorate others cannot.

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He wrote: “In difficult times it can be tempting to cling to what we think feels comfortable, but that is precisely when we should be seeking to grasp the opportunities before us, not to be timid.

“Rushing to endorse a ‘continuity’ candidate at this early stage is eerily reminiscent of what happened in last year’s contest – and we all know now how well that turned out.

“A coronation may be superficially attractive, but now is precisely when we should be engaging with those members, to hear their voices, and, through that engagement to motivate and mobilise them for the impending General Election campaign.

“Kate Forbes is an outstanding talent with a formidable intellect. She is personable and popular - witness the scale of her constituency majority.

“She reaches parts of the electorate others cannot reach. If we are serious about facing the future, not the past, then we need to choose wisely at this critical time.”

Neither Forbes nor Swinney have yet confirmed their intention to stand but both have implied they are seriously considering a bid.

Meanwhile, an SNP insider has called for a "deal to be struck" between the pair.

Numerous figures within the SNP have already backed Swinney to become the next first minister, including party leader at Westminster Stephen Flynn, his predecessor Ian Blackford, and several serving ministers such as Jenny Gilruth and Mairi McAllan.

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However, the “SNP establishment” has been accused of lining up behind Swinney in order to thwart a leadership bid from Forbes by her allies.

Swinney said on Tuesday he would have “more to say in the coming days” while Forbes told reporters she would announce her decision on Wednesday.

Swinney said: “I have a lot of personal circumstances to think about to make sure that it would be the right decision for my family to do this.

“So I'm giving that all a great deal of thought to make sure I come to the right decision for my family, my party, and my country.”

Forbes said: “I know there is a groundswell of support for me amongst the members. That was quite clear in the last contest.

"Clearly I’ll be taking that into account and also trying to evaluate what is best for the country, for the party and for my family.”