Humza Yousaf says he will step down as SNP leader and Scotland’s First Minister once a successor has been found.

So, how did we get here?

What is the Bute House agreement?

The story begins with Humza Yousaf’s predecessor, Nicola Sturgeon.

After failing to secure a majority in the Scottish Parliament elections in 2021, she struck a deal with the Scottish Green party, dubbed the Bute House agreement.

Mr Yousaf inherited this arrangement when he took over as First Minister in March last year and relied on it to command a majority in the Scottish Parliament.

Why did the SNP and Green party deal collapse?

The relationship between the parties was dealt a fatal blow earlier this month when the Scottish government announced it was abandoning a major environmental target.

Nicola Sturgeon had previously promised that Scotland would slash its carbon emissions by 75 per cent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

The commitment was legally binding on the Scottish government.

But in March, the UK’s independent green watchdog, the Climate Change Committee, said it “no longer believes the Scottish government will meet its statutory 2030 goal” and that the ambition is “no longer credible”.

Humza Yousaf’s Net Zero Secretary dropped the commitment on 18 April, saying the government “accepts” the CCC verdict.

Within hours, the Green party was arranging a vote to decide whether to stay part of the Bute House agreement with the SNP. It’s also been reported that Green party members were expressing unhappiness at Scotland’s decision to pause the prescription of puberty blockers at the NHS Sandyford clinic in Glasgow after the Cass Review said the evidence around the treatment was “weak”.

But before the vote could take place, Mr Yousaf announced on 25 April that he was ending the SNP-Green deal. He said: “after careful consideration I believe that going forward it is in the best interest of the people of Scotland to pursue a different arrangement.”

Why did Humza Yousaf resign?

When he announced the end of the Bute House arrangement, Humza Yousaf insisted that he would stay on as First Minister and lead a minority government.

But it quickly became clear that he’d need the support of at least one more MSP – and who that would be wasn’t immediately apparent.

Former SNP MSP Ash Regan, who now sits as part of Alex Salmond’s Alba party, was initially in the spotlight.

But the BBC reported yesterday that Humza Yousaf had ruled out a pact with the former first minister’s party.

With no alternative party available to form a coalition – and confidence votes in him and his government tabled for this week – Mr Yousaf was under extreme pressure.

He eventually decided to step down today, saying that while it was “absolutely possible” he could have survived a confidence vote, he had decided not to continue as First Minister.

“I cannot tell you what an honour it is being the first minister of the country I love, the country I’m raising my family in and the only country I will ever call home,” he said.


(Image credit: ROBERT PERRY/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)