KATE Forbes has said she believes that people of faith are “fearful” of expressing their views in the political sphere.

The former finance secretary faced a backlash during the early days of the SNP leadership contest to replace Nicola Sturgeon, after she said she would not have voted for same sex marriage if she had been an MSP when the law was passed in 2014.

Forbes also said that she believes having children outside of marriage conflicted with her Christian faith, and that she was anti-abortion.

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Many who had supported Forbes in the early days dropped out of her campaign after the series of interviews with broadcasters.

Speaking to the BBC, Forbes said: "I'd always been open about my views so there was no surprise that they were a topic of discussion and - in some quarters - concern.

"The surprise was that those who knew my position, immediately distanced themselves from me."

Forbes lost the contest to now First Minister Humza Yousaf at the second preference stage, who won with 52%, to Forbes 48%.

The National: The MSP is now serving on the backbenchesThe MSP is now serving on the backbenches (Image: PA)

"If I had not been honest, if I had tried to make certain things more palatable or politically correct, would I have been more successful?," she said.


However, the 33-year-old said she does not regret what she said, and claimed to have received “thousands” of messages from people who disagreed with her, but who respected her right to express her views and to stand for office.

Forbes told the BBC that her faith tells her to forgive the colleagues who abandoned her campaign to take over the leadership.

She added that despite this, she believes that people of faith are being squeezed out of political life.

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"I do think there is a fear which characterises right now any discussions about faith,” Forbes told the BBC.

"I do think people of faith are a minority and certainly my experience is they are, by and large, fearful.

"So they either feel like they have to hide their faith or adapt it and that is a cause for concern."

Forbes is a member of the Free Church of Scotland, which split from the Church of Scotland in the 19th century.

The SNP MSP added that she believes her religious views were "100%” scrutinised more than Yousaf, who is a Muslim and fasts during Ramadan, and was doing so at the tail end of the leadership contest.

Yousaf was asked about his religion during the leadership campaign, but insisted that he would not allow his faith to dictate how he votes on legislation.

"I'm obviously at a crossroads because I'm no longer in government," Forbes added.

"I have a 10-month old baby who's most demanding of my time, and I've got a constituency that I've been absent from for the duration of maternity leave. So there's lots to be getting stuck into and we'll see what happens next."