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Independent Scotland could ditch monarchy within five years, SNP leadership candidate Humza Yousaf declares

SNP leadership candidate Humza Yousaf (PA Wire)
SNP leadership candidate Humza Yousaf (PA Wire)

Scotland would consider ditching the monarchy within five years of independence, SNP leadership candidate Humza Yousaf has pledged.

Speaking in an interview with the National, the Scottish health secretary said, although it was not an immediate priority, Scotland should consider whether to move away from monarchy if it became independent.

He said: “When we’re independent, we’ll need to get our central bank up and running, we’ll need to transition to a new Scottish currency, which I’ve been keen to do as quickly as possible.

“But let’s absolutely within the first five years consider whether or not we should move away from having a monarchy, into an elected head of state.”

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Asked about Prince Edward being given the title of Duke of Edinburgh, he added: “Look, royals have every opportunity to do as they wish.

“But I consider myself first and foremost, a citizen, not a subject.”

Mr Yousaf is battling Finance Secretary Kate Forbes and ex-minister Ash Regan to become Scotland’s next First Minister and to replace Nicola Sturgeon.

The candidates during an SNP hustings (PA Wire)
The candidates during an SNP hustings (PA Wire)

The contest is heading into its final fortnight, with the result being announced after the ballot closes on March 27.

SNP party members are being asked to rank the three candidates, and if no single person receives more than 50 per cent in first preferences, the last placed person will be eliminated.

According to polling expert Sir John Curtice, Ms Forbes is thought to be more popular than Mr Yousaf with Scottish voters at large.

However, among SNP party members who are deciding the contest, “the picture is rather different, with Mr Yousaf seemingly neck and neck with Ms Forbes.”

Ms Forbes has found herself under criticism in the race after saying she would have voted against gay marriage if she were an MSP in 2014 due to her traditional Christian beliefs.

Asked by Sky News’ Beth Rigby whether she would apologise to gay married couples, Ms Forbes said Monday: ““I certainly, certainly don’t disapprove … I mean, there are people in my own family and my job as an elected representative is to represent everybody without prejudice”.