A day-by-day account of how it all went wrong for the new First Minister.
When you look at the first few weeks of Humza Yousaf’s leadership laid out, day-by-day, it really is catastrophic. As honeymoons go, it wouldn’t be out of place on The White Lotus.
Day 1: Yousaf narrowly avoids defeat to the deeply conservative Forbes.
Day 2: Forbes “told him where to stick it” when Yousaf offered her agriculture.
Day 3: Forbes campaign manager McKee rejects a job in Yousaf’s government.
Day 4 The Standards Committee recommends suspending Margaret Ferrier for 20 days which would trigger a by-election for the SNP to defend.
Day 5 The first poll of Yousaf’s leadership suggests he’ll lose 18 seats to Labour.
Day 6 A Panelbase poll shows Yousaf would lose his seat to Labour.
Day 7 Forbes contradicts SNP claims she wanted more family time and says she wanted to stay as Finance Secretary.
Day 8 The IFS reports that earlier predictions that Scotland’s deficit would close compared to the UK were wrong.
Day 9 A Redfield and Winton poll has Yousaf with -7 approval rating among Scots. By comparison, Labour Leader Starmer was +8.
Day 10 Police raid Nicola Sturgeon’s house, SNP HQ, and arrest Peter Murrell. Yousaf says “it’s not great” for the SNP.
Day 11 Having stood as “the continuity candidate” Yousaf gives interviews distancing himself from Nicola Sturgeon’s time in office.
Day 12 Yousaf denies the SNP are “in cahoots” with the police. It is reported that the SNP’s auditors have resigned.
Day 13 SNP President Mike Russell says “I don’t think independence can be secured right now.” Salmond says Yousaf needs to find humility. A £100,000 campervan was seized by police from Sturgeon’s mother-in-law’s driveway.
Day 14 The Sunday Mail are passed a recording of Nicola Sturgeon at an NEC meeting in 2021 saying: “We don’t need to talk about the finances, the finances are absolutely fine.”
Day 15 Yousaf gives an interview and says people can trust money given to the SNP will be spent properly - but won’t say if that has always been the case.
Day 16 Yousaf gives further interviews and admits that the SNP’s auditors actually quit months ago and that the party has been unable to find new ones.
Day 17 The SNP informs the Electoral Commission they may not be able to submit accounts. Yousaf’s Deputy cannot say if the SNP owns a campervan.
Day 18 Yousaf gives interviews and confirms the SNP does own a campervan.
Day 19 Senior party figures, including members of the SNP’s executive, said they had no idea there was a campervan. One asked “what was it doing for so long outside Peter’s mum’s and not in a paint shop having livery put on the sides?”
Day 20 The SNP’s Treasurer tells the Executive of the party they are “having difficulty in balancing the books due to the reduction in membership and donors.” Yousaf gives interviews to reassure that “we’re not close to bankruptcy.”
Day 21 Video is leaked of Nicola Sturgeon telling the SNP’s NEC that “The party has never been in a stronger financial position than it is right now” just weeks before her husband loaned the party £107,000 to help with cash flow.
Day 22 Yousaf refuses to suspend Nicola Sturgeon from party membership. Says it is ‘unfair to judge a wife by what happens to her husband’ inviting us to forget the fact the wife was party leader and the husband her Chief Executive.
Day 23 As Yousaf prepares to reset the political agenda by making a statement of his government’s priorities, SNP MSP and party Treasurer Colin Beattie is arrested by police. Ash Regan calls for Sturgeon to be stripped of membership.
Day 24 Beattie quits as SNP Treasurer. Yousaf takes over from him but complains “I’ve got enough on my plate.”
Day 25 Yousaf gives another round of interviews and confirms that the SNP owes money to their former Chief Executive, still under police investigation, but won’t say how much in debt to him the party is.20
Day 26 A new YouGov poll sees Labour closing the gap with the SNP in Holyrood voting intentions by nine points. 39% of voters think Yousaf is incompetent. Just 26% think him competent.
Day 27 The Times reveals that Angus Robertson, while SNP leader in the Commons, was secretly paid a £33,000 top-up to his salary.
Day 28 The Sunday Mail reports that police investigating the SNP’s finances are searching for burner phones. Deputy Leader Keith Brown admits he didn’t know that the party’s auditors had resigned until shortly before the media reported it.
Day 29 SNP Leader in Westminster Stephen Flynn admits he didn’t know that SNP’s auditors had also quit as auditors for the SNP’s House of Commons group until two months after he was elected. The party risks losing opposition funding as a result. Humza Yousaf gives an interview about burner phones.
Day 30 Recently resigned treasurer Colin Beattie gives his first interview since he resigned. Says he didn’t know about the motorhome. Beattie says being the SNP’s treasurer isn’t as bad as being in Beirut during the civil war. Five hours later Beattie says, actually, he did know about the motorhome.