Scotland could ditch monarchy within five years of leaving UK, claims Humza Yousaf



Scotland could ditch the monarchy within five years of leaving the UK, the favourite to replace Nicola Sturgeon has claimed.

Humza Yousaf said that he wanted the country to quickly be able to consider whether it would replace the King with an elected head of state, should it become independent.

While seen as the “continuity candidate” in the race to succeed Ms Sturgeon, Mr Yousaf has openly admitted during the contest that he is a republican, a stance at odds with the SNP’s official policy.

Both Alex Salmond and Ms Sturgeon have previously insisted that Scotland would remain a constitutional monarchy if it left the UK, but Mr Yousaf has backed allowing a debate within the SNP about reversing its position. “Let’s also talk about things like monarchy,” he told The National, a pro-independence newspaper. “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. It’s not an immediate priority, I accept that. But let’s absolutely within the first five years [of independence] consider whether or not we should move away from having a monarchy into an elected head of state.”

He added: “I consider myself first and foremost a citizen, not a subject. I do think it’s important that within the first few years of independence that we have that discussion.”

While several senior figures within the SNP are republicans, the party had previously feared that backing the abolition of the monarchy would cost it support.

A poll carried out by YouGov in October, a month after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, found that 41 per cent of Scots believed Scotland should continue to have a monarchy if it became independent, compared to 40 per cent who thought it should have an elected head of state.

Support for the monarchy was far higher among older generations, with 62 per cent of pensioners supporting a monarchy, a position that was reversed among 16 to 24-year-olds.

Stephen Flynn, the SNP’s Westminster leader who has endorsed Mr Yousaf, said in February he was “quite sympathetic” to abandoning the monarchy. It followed Mr Salmond presenting himself as a committed Royalist when he was first minister and during the campaign for independence before the 2014 referendum.—Agencies