CAMPAIGNERS have called for the “ludicrous” requirement for MSPs to declare service to the monarchy to be ditched after Humza Yousaf broke with tradition in his resignation letter to the King.

As he quit as first minister, Yousaf said in a letter to King Charles that “with my humble duty” he was writing to resign from office.

He added it “has been my pleasure to serve Your Majesty” but notably Yousaf – who is a republican - did not repeat his predecessor Nicola Sturgeon's words, as she wrote: “I have the honour to be, Sir, Your Majesty's humble and obedient servant."

According to Debrett’s, a London-based etiquette coaching company, the first line of a letter to the King should begin with the phrase “with my humble duty” but it should also end with: "I have the honour to remain, Sir, Your Majesty’s most humble and obedient servant”.

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CEO of anti-monarchy Republic, Graham Smith, said he hoped John Swinney – who looks likely to be elected first minister on Tuesday – would take note of Yousaf’s “small step” towards ditching the “arcane” language MSPs are required to use towards the monarchy when they are elected.

After an election, MSPs are sworn in by taking an oath or affirmation with the oath being “I swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to His Majesty King Charles, his heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God". 

Swinney has previously said he would prefer to keep the monarchy in the event of Scottish independence.

The National: File photo dated 19/02/16 of the then Deputy First Minister of Scotland John Swinney in Westminster . Former Scottish deputy first minister John Swinney has been confirmed as the SNP's new leader - with no other possible candidates coming forward to

Asked what he thought of Yousaf toning down the language of Sturgeon’s letter, Smith told The National: “First ministers, like all politicians, should see themselves as servants of the people, not of an unelected monarch who represents no one but himself.

“Let’s hope [John] Swinney and others take note of this small step toward ditching this arcane language that is offensive to all our democratic values.”

Campaigners branded Sturgeon’s letter “deeply disturbing” last year with Scottish anti-monarchy group Our Republic calling out the “bizarre an anachronistic ritual that paints the head of Scotland's Government as no more than a servant of the King".

Tristan Gray, convener of Our Republic, said MSPs should be able to choose who to declare their loyalty to, adding that Yousaf’s letter still showed he had to tread a “bizarre middle-ground” as a republican.

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He said: “After the 2021 election many MSPs took the opportunity to protest the ludicrous, archaic, and anti-democratic requirement to declare their service to the monarchy before taking their seats as representatives in the Scottish Parliament.

“Nicola Sturgeon was one who did so, on behalf of her party, declaring her loyalty first to the Scottish people.

“For her [Sturgeon’s] resignation to have included a dedication as an ‘obedient servant; to the King was a shock, and cast doubt on the value of that earlier protest.

“Humza Yousaf, by contrast, has stayed true to this bizarre middle-ground our political representatives have been forced to tread. Both in doing their actual elected jobs as representing the people who elected them - and playing this pantomime act of subservience to a monarchy we now know, from polling this week, that Scots don't even want.

“It's long past time we put this charade behind us, and I hope we see the Scottish Parliament make a request to Westminster that the Scotland Act be amended so that Scottish Politicians can choose who they declare their loyalty to - and let the Scottish public judge them on that.”

Gray added he hoped Swinney would “bear in mind” his view of keeping the monarchy “is not the position held by most of his supporters or most Scots” in his own language should he take up the position of first minister.