With Humza Yousaf having announced his resignation on Monday, all eyes are on the potential candidates to replace him. 

So far, only John Swinney has confirmed he will run.

Kate Forbes ran in the 2023 leadership election, with the former Scottish finance secretary hoping to become the youngest ever SNP leader.

Before politics

The National: Kate Forbes worked for Barclays before entering politicsKate Forbes worked for Barclays before entering politics

Prior to becoming a politician, Forbes studied history at Cambridge before completing an MSc in diaspora and migration history at the University of Edinburgh.

She was born in Dingwall and spent part of her childhood in India. Forbes would go on to become an accountant and later worked for Barclays.

When she was in Scotland she attended a Gaelic school where she became fluent in the language.

Becoming an MSP

The National: Kate Forbes became an MSP in 2016Kate Forbes became an MSP in 2016

Forbes became the MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch at the 2016 Holyrood election, having previously worked for former MSP Dave Thompson in the same constituency.

In 2018, she was promoted to the junior position of minister of public finance and her rapid rise continued when she was announced as Scotland’s first female Finance Secretary when Derek Mackay resigned in disgrace.

In 2020, she became the first woman to deliver the Scottish budget.

She holds a comfortable majority in her Highland constituency of 15,000.

Maternity leave

The National: Kate Forbes gave birth to her daughter Naomi in August last yearKate Forbes gave birth to her daughter Naomi in August last year

In July 2022, the now 33-year-old went on maternity leave to have her first child, being the first Scottish Cabinet secretary to do so.

She announced in August 2022 along with her husband Ali Maclennan, that their daughter Naomi was safely delivered at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.

Arriving on Thursday, August 4, Naomi was born weighing seven pounds and 13 ounces.

How does she plan to win independence?

In the previous leadership election, Forbes outlined her views on a number of key issues facing Scotland from independence to the A9.

On securing independence, Forbes told The National about her plan to use the next Westminster election to win a mandate in order to demand within three months the powers to hold a referendum if the SNP win a majority of seats.

She said: “What I’m proposing is an independence delivery plan which would be implemented, which is designed to maximise and boost support for independence.

“Call it a campaign team with a mission to persuade and to ensure that as many people as possible are being reached.”

During an interview with the BBC, Forbes also spoke of the importance of cutting “vitriol” and “abuse” in order to win No voters over to Yes.

Views on same-sex marriage

Forbes lost several of her endorsements at the beginning of her campaign after she told The Scotsman that she would not have supported equal marriage as a “matter of conscience” were she an MSP when the vote was held.

However, she added: “It is legal right now and I am a servant of democracy. I am not a dictator.”

READ MORE: Free Church of Scotland: What are the beliefs of Kate Forbes's church?​

Forbes then later said that having children out of wedlock is “wrong” according to her faith as a member of the Free Church of Scotland.

“For me, it would be wrong according to my faith, but for you I have no idea what your faith is. So, in a free society you can do what you want.”

Who backed Kate Forbes last time?

Following her comments on equal marriage, several MSPs backing Forbes withdrew their endorsements, including Gillian Martin, Richard Lochhead and Clare Haughey.

However, several continued to back Forbes include Jim Fairlie, the MSP for Perthshire South and Kinross-Shire as well as Michelle Thomson, her former campaign manager.

Among those in the Westminster group backing Forbes were Patricia Gibson, the MP for North Ayrshire and Arran.

After the leadership election

After Forbes lost with 47.9% of the vote, she quit her role as finance secretary. It had been reported that she was offered a Cabinet role in rural affairs, but turned it down. 

Since then Forbes has been a columnist with The National, and focusing on constituency issues such as campaigning on the delayed Belford Hospital. 

Following Yousaf's resignation, Forbes is a popular name on the lists of runners and riders. However, she faces challenges in being elected.

The more socially conservative candidate would likely face difficulties in getting elected as first minister even if she were to win an SNP leadership vote. 

Internal Holyrood chatter indicates that there are SNP representatives who would prefer to resign than to support the election of someone with Forbes's views on LGBT issues or abortion.

She is yet to speak on Yousaf's resignation.