SNP leadership contest: Humza Yousaf says he will appoint senior figure to head up strategy for re-joining EU

Humza Yousaf has pledged to appoint a senior figure to head up the Scottish Government’s strategy for re-joining the EU if he becomes the next first minister.

The SNP leadership hopeful also spoke of his intention to hold a European summit in Scotland, as he insisted he “would never stop until we are back in Europe”.

In a letter to David Clarke, chair of the European Movement in Scotland, Mr Yousaf said: "If elected as first minister, I would seek to rebuild closer relationships with the EU as a matter of priority, bringing Scotland back to Europe, where we belong. I would envision having someone in place to lead this strategy."

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He added: “I would expect the person who leads this strategy to lead the rebuilding of the infrastructure to help us transition back into Europe as an independent country. What formal capacity this role will take is, as yet, to be decided, but we would not rule out a Cabinet-level role given its importance.”

SNP leadership candidate Humza YousafSNP leadership candidate Humza Yousaf
SNP leadership candidate Humza Yousaf

Mr Yousaf also said he would set up a permanent SNP presence in Brussels as a way of "establishing our presence as a small European nation at the heart of Europe and ensuring Scotland’s case for returning to Europe be heard by our European neighbours".

He said: “I am confident we will return to Europe. We must. I must be very clear regarding my unwavering commitment to Europe, however. If elected as first minister, I would work firmly with the belief that the only way Scotland can return to Europe is as an independent country. I will re-affirm the case to the people of Scotland, then, that our place in Europe is as a small independent country.

"With that in mind I would also intend to host a European summit in Scotland. We would intend to engage in honest dialogue with not only our fellow EU partners the Greens/European Free Alliance, but other EU groups that are open to democracy and furthering social justice across Europe.”

Mr Clarke said: “Europe should be centre stage of any political discussion in this country. Brexit has been the disaster we always knew it would be. There is, but one way to overcome the chaos and economic deprivation of the last few years and that is to re-join the European Union as soon as possible. We applaud any politician from any party willing to tell this truth and to take steps to put this into action.”



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