HUMZA Yousaf has said he would embed LGBT + rights in a written Scottish constitution.

Speaking to LGBT+ news site PinkNews, Yousaf said that he would not just defend the rights of LGBT people but “absolutely advance them in a progressively, socially just Scotland”.

He vowed to secure the rights of minorities in a written constitution if Scotland gains independence.

“That would help to cement them, so that when we do have the inevitable attacks on our rights, we have a concrete foundation by which to defend them,” he said.

“Far too often, we are held back by a UK Government that who want to roll back on some of these rights.

“That’s not the kind of independent, socially just, progressive Scotland that I see.”

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When asked whether there was “institutional inertia” in dealing with transphobia within the party in relation to the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill, he said that he would not stand for “hatred of any sort” as first minister.

While he believed that the “vast majority” of SNP politicians opposed to the legislation expressed themselves without being transphobic, he added that he would be prepared to expel anyone who crossed the line.

He said: “There is a job for the next SNP leader to do, which is to try to bring the party together over what has been a very divisive debate.

“There’s a process whereby if anybody is being bigoted, transphobic, homophobic, misogynist, racist, that that is investigated, and appropriate action [taken] which, of course, could be expulsion.

“All we’re trying to do is make life that little bit easier for a tiny marginal percentage of the population who are often targeted with hate crime.

“It’s a real shame that it has become an unbelievably toxic debate and some of the dog whistles I’ve heard against our trans community – if you took out the word ‘trans’ and put in ‘Muslim’ or ‘Jew’ or ‘Black person’ we would not stand for it.”

He added that as well as fighting the UK Government’s Section 35 order, he would also look at bringing forward a bill which bans conversion therapy practices in Scotland if similar UK-wide legislation is not forthcoming from Westminster.