HUMZA Yousaf has dismissed “outrageous” suggestions of a conflict of interest over his decision to give £250,000 to an aid agency in Gaza.

The First Minister had announced the donation to UNRWA as he met officials from the organisation on November 2 last year while his parents-in-law were among millions under siege in the enclave.

It was reported in The Telegraph on Saturday that Yousaf was being accused of overriding officials’ recommendations to give Unicef, a different UN agency, between £100,000 and £200,000.

In a post on Twitter/X, Yousaf said: “I don’t usually respond to smears against me or my family, but this story is so outrageous it requires a response.

The National:

“Most of my political life, I’ve battled insinuations from sections of the media desperate to link me to terrorism despite campaigning my whole life against it.

“To be clear, the Scottish Government gave money to Gaza, like virtually every government in the west, because of the unarguable humanitarian catastrophe that has unfolded there.

“Whether funding was given to Unicef or UNRWA, both of course UN agencies, it was always for the people of Gaza.

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“Funding to UNRWA was deemed the most flexible way of ensuring money got to where it was needed. Hence why so many governments, including the UK, gave millions to them.

“UNRWA, of course, had nothing to do with my in-laws being able to leave Gaza. They were able to leave Gaza due to the hard work of the crisis team at the FCDO, like every other British national.

“The FCDO can of course confirm this. To suggest otherwise is a flat-out lie & smear. I cannot tell you the trauma my family suffered, particularly during the weeks my in-laws were trapped there.

“To peddle far-right conspiracies in a newspaper is outrageous and will only encourage a further pile-on of vile abuse my family and I have suffered throughout this period.

“Due to my faith and race, there will always be those, particularly on the far-right, who will desperately try to ‘prove’ my loyalties lie elsewhere. That I am a fifth columnist in the only country I call home, the country I love and the country I have the privilege of leading.

“It will not stop me from raising my voice for the plight of the people of Gaza or for continuing to call for the immediate release of hostages. Aid must go to the people of Gaza suffering unimaginable horror.”

In The Telegraph report, Scottish Tory MSP Stephen Kerr claimed Yousaf had some “serious explaining to do” and suggested he may have broken the Scottish ministerial code.