HUMZA Yousaf has resigned as SNP leader and will step down as First Minister when a successor can be confirmed.

Polling published on the day showed he left the party with a slight poll lead in both the Holyrood constituency and regional list votes – but trailing Labour by one point in the Westminster predictions.

As the dust settles and the SNP looks around at potential successors, The National has reached out to grassroots groups across Scotland to get their views on the developments.

Here’s what we’ve been told:

Aberdeen Independence Movement's Alan Petrie

It's deeply disappointing that Humza has felt the need to step down. From a grassroots perspective, Humza was a breath of fresh air, resetting the relationship with the grassroots movement and the SNP.

Whoever is the next leader, that improved relationship must be built on and harnessed.

AIM has been a long and loud advocate for new civic campaign organisation with a code of conduct at its heart to be formed – and we were delighted when forming a civic campaign organisation with a code of conduct at its heart became SNP party policy at conference.

The need for such a campaign body is even more pressing and needed today as it was when it became SNP policy. So we would call on whoever is the next leader to make that motion passed by SNP members a reality – and let’s get that civic campaign for independence up and running as a matter of urgency.

Pensioners for Independence co-convener Mary McCabe

Being First Minister of devolved Scotland is a difficult balancing act. You're blocked (by a UK Government which can make up the rules as it goes along) from furthering the independence cause and then get blamed by the pro-independence side for being weak.

The Unionists (with most of the media behind them) blame you for focusing too much on the constitution and for neglecting the NHS, education and public services. Statistics show that under Humza Yousaf public services are all in a better state than in Tory-run England or in Labour-run Wales, but the Unionist media are careful never to make direct comparisons.

The National: Humza Yousaf was emotional as he spoke about his family

Humza Yousaf's biggest success was in drawing the attention of the international community to Scotland's case; in the first place when he became the first Muslim leader of a European country and in the second place when he publicly differentiated Scotland from the UK in calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

We hope that the next leader is bold in challenging the reserved powers of the devolution settlement (in particular in pushing for control over renewable energy and in dealing with foreign-based sources).

We would also like someone who is conciliatory in dealing with other pro-independence political parties and supportive of grass-roots movements. As Benjamin Franklin said: ‘If we do not hang together we will assuredly hang separately!’

SNP Trade Union Group national secretary Simon Barrow

We share the sadness at events over the past few days, and join many others in thanking Humza Yousaf for his service, and wishing him and his family all the very best. 

Now is the time to achieve stability and consolidation within the party. This must include deeper listening to the concerns of working people and communities across Scotland. 

Our continued desire is for bold, visionary and progressive policies on issues like fair taxation, just transition, a strong industrial strategy, investment in local services, further action against poverty, and pressure for full economic powers coming back to Scotland – which ultimately means independence. 

In the meantime, we will do everything we can to ensure that trade union voices are heard loud and clear in the selection process for a new SNP leader and first minister. 

In the last leadership election we worked with the STUC and The National to achieve an independent hustings based around the concerns of working people, and something similar will be our aim this time. We will say more about this as soon as we are able.

Believe in Scotland

The National: Business For Scotland chief executive Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp pictured speaking at the Trades Hall of Glasgow for the launch of the Believe In Scotland campaign and Scotland The Brief book.

  Photograph by Colin Mearns
22 January 2020
For The National

The next leader of the SNP has but one card to play and that is to go all out for independence, within the EU and with a wellbeing economic approach.

Focusing on that trifecta of core principles taps into the national mood and polls have indicated that this approach can lead to 60%-plus independence support.

That is the key to a stable minority government, to a strong SNP performance in the next UK General Election and to creating a platform that would lead to a victory for independence in a de facto referendum at the next Scottish Government elections expected in 2026.

Believe in Scotland will continue to seek to work across the independence movement to progress the independence cause.

All Under One Banner

AUOB have organised a Scottish independence rally to take place in Glasgow on May 4. In their statement, they said the event would be a chance to move past “party-political shenanigans”.

This Saturday's national demonstration for self determination is the opportunity to emphasise the importance and power of the grassroots independence movement.

Let’s get back on the streets in huge numbers and act defiantly against the British state and its wars, racism, and poverty.

The party-political shenanigans in our Parliament are a call to the base of the movement to take control and assert ourselves on the streets at this vital moment.

On Saturday let's unite in action in huge numbers, and express our collective desire for an independent Scotland.

Yes for EU

The National: Humza Yousaf at a Believe In Scotland and Yes For EU rally for an independent Scotland in Edinburgh

Humza Yousaf championed the cause of "independence in the EU".

His passionate speech made our march and rally for EU membership in Edinburgh last year memorable.

We hope that the next first minister will also promote EU membership to address the cost of living crisis and reverse the economic damage done by the Tory/Labour Brexit.