SNP: Humza Yousaf 'would remove King as head of state' if Scotland became independent

Humza Yousaf is one of the frontrunners to be the next SNP leader. Credit: PA

One of the frontrunners to succeed Nicola Sturgeon as Scotland's first minister has said he would like to abandon the monarchy within five-years of the country becoming independent.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf stated Scotland shouldn't be "shy" about conversations surrounding the Royal family while doubling down on his stance as a staunch Republican.

In an interview with The National, the leadership hopeful added: "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."

The leadership candidate went on to say he was a "citizen" rather than a "subject".

Mr Yousaf has become the favourite among the SNP hierarchy to replace Nicola Sturgeon after Kate Forbes' comments on gay marriage provoked significant backlash both in the party and among the general public.

Despite party support, his recent comments mark a significant step away from the attitudes of previous first ministers when it comes to the Royal family.

When talks of independence were mooted back in 2014, Alex Salmond said he would retain the monarchy as part of an effort to keep keep close links "through a continuing social union" if independence was achieved.

This was a line that was towed by Nicola Sturgeon who delivered a warm tribute to Queen Elizabeth after her death last year.

Voting opened on Monday, with Ash Regan, Kate Forbes and Humza Yousaf all vying to become the party's next leader.

Ballot papers have been sent out to tens of thousands of SNP members, who are tasked with choosing their party's new leader - members have two weeks to cast their vote, with the ballot closing at noon on March 27.

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