Humza Yousaf in Coronation row as he snubs independence rally

Humza Yousaf has broken his pledge to attend a Scottish independence rally on the same day as the King’s Coronation. During the SNP leadership race, Mr Yousaf and his rivals Kate Forbes and Ash Regan vowed to make a speech at the All Under One Banner (AUOB) event in Glasgow on May 6.

The Scottish independence pressure group had the new First Minister listed as a speaker as late as Saturday.

But organisers have now shared an amended list with Mr Yousaf’s name removed after the Scottish Government confirmed he would be attending the Coronation at Westminster Abbey in London where Charles will be crowned alongside Camilla.

A spokesperson for the Scottish First Minister said: “Mr Yousaf has confirmed he will be attending the King’s Coronation in his official capacity as First Minister of Scotland.”

The pressure group hit out at Mr Yousaf for attending the Coronation over the independence rally.

Referring to his pledge during the SNP leadership contest to be “First Activist”, the group said: “It is clear that Scotland’s First Activist is under no obligation to go to the coronation – it’s his choice not his duty.

“During this invitation process we’ve discovered that a deputy can be sent to London.”

Meanwhile, former SNP MSP Alex Neil said: “Wrong priorities.”

And Tory MSP Stephen Kerr said: “Latest crisis for Humza Yousaf: Does he attend the ‘all under one banner’ march of Scottish Nationalist ultras as promised, or does he attend the coronation ceremony?

“For most- an easy choice. But Humza promised while he was fighting for SNP leadership, surely it wasn’t a lie?”

Mr Yousaf and his fellow leadership hopefuls Ms Forbes and Ms Regan all promised to speak at the independence event during the race to replace Nicola Sturgeon.

He later insisted he would try and attend both the rally and the Coronation despite them being at roughly the same time and hundreds of miles apart.

Mr Yousaf told The National: “As an independence activist, I’ve proudly attended a number of rallies which hold an important place in our movement.

“My views on the monarchy are well known but as Scotland’s first minister it is vitally important that I represent the people of Scotland who hold a range of different views.

“If SNP members put their trust in me to lead our party, and become Scotland’s first minister, I will look to find a solution to attend both events if that is possible.”

The AUOB march kicks off at 11.30am and speakers include Ms Forbes and Ms Regan.

It comes after Mr Yousaf declared during the SNP leadership race that Scotland could ditch the monarchy within five years of independence.

He said: “Let’s also talk about things like monarchy. I don’t know why we should be shy about that, I don’t think we should be.

“I’ve been very clear, I’m a Republican. That’s never been anything I’ve hidden.

“And it’s not an immediate priority, I accept that. But 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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