Humza Yousaf won the race to succeed Nicola Sturgeon as Scotland’s First Minister barely seven months ago, yet already his leadership of the SNP is in crisis. Two political earthquakes in succession, just days apart, have threatened to make his first party conference as leader a living nightmare.

First there was the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election, which Labour was expected to win but which no one predicted would generate the enormous 20 per cent swing from the SNP to its chief rival. And then came the entirely unexpected defection by East Kilbride SNP MP, Lisa Cameron, to the Conservatives.

The party sought to downplay this latest drama as the self-interested behaviour of a parliamentarian who had already lost the confidence of her local activists and was on the cusp of being replaced as the official SNP candidate. But there was no denying the seriousness of the blow that Cameron’s decision to cross the floor of the Commons has had on party – and Yousaf’s – morale.

To make matters worse, Yousaf himself is facing a humiliating defeat at the hands of delegates as they line up to vote down his preferred wording on a new “strategy” for independence. Yousaf, alongside his party’s Westminster leader, Stephen Flynn, had co-authored a document that stated that, if the SNP won “most of” Scotland’s seats at the next general election, that would be interpreted as a mandate to trigger independence negotiations. But his party activists have other ideas, and it’s almost certain that they will amend the document so that the party requires “a majority” of seats before any such mandate can be claimed.

Want to see more SNP fails? – Health Matters

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