Humza Yousaf appears on Time magazine cover as he admits SNP must 're-earn trust' of Scotland's people

The First Minister is profiled by the magazine as one of 2023’s ‘Next Generation Leaders’.

Humza Yousaf has appeared on the front of internationally respected magazine Time as he was named on of the publication’s ‘Next Generation Leaders’ for 2023.

In his first major interview with international media, the First Minister admits that he and the SNP must spend the next year “re-earning the trust” of the Scottish people ahead of a general election.

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The magazine features the SNP leader as one its “rising stars”, highlighting Mr Yousaf’s position as Scotland’s youngest leader and the first from an ethnic minority background.

An interview with Humza Yousaf is featured on the front cover of Time magazineAn interview with Humza Yousaf is featured on the front cover of Time magazine
An interview with Humza Yousaf is featured on the front cover of Time magazine

Mr Yousaf is also the first Muslim politician to be elected to lead a Western democracy.

He appears alongside the likes of actor Florence Pugh, racing driver Jamie Chadwick, drag queen Pattie Gonia and Ghanian visual artist Prince Gyasi.

The profile of the First Minister touches on many of the issues facing Mr Yousaf’s leadership, with the SNP leader admitting: “I think there’s a job to do for us in those 12 to 15 months to make sure we’re re-earning the trust of the people of Scotland. It’s going to be a tough job.”

He adds: “We’ve had five of the most difficult months that my party has probably faced in certainly its recent history. Being attached to this unequal union is what’s holding us back.”

In it, he rejects the suggestion that the divisions within the SNP are terminal to its chances at the upcoming general election.

Mr Yousaf states: “In a party of our size, you’re going to have people like that [Fergus Ewing].

"But I’m pleased that the majority are absolutely right behind the party, the cause, and my leadership. Divided parties just don’t win elections.”

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The First Minister also said people are more focused on issues closer to home, rather than the divisions within the SNP.

He told Time: “We have too many people in Scotland, in fact right across the UK, living in poverty because we’ve had 13 years of austerity, and my belief – unsurprisingly – is you need the full powers of independence to truly unleash the potential of this country for every single Scot that lives here.”

The First Minister also appears defensive about his party’s time in office, telling the interviewer that: “it’s inevitable that you make mistakes” in relation to the last 16 years of SNP government.

He also speaks of his reaction to seeing his portrait on the wall of St Andrew’s House, Mr Yousaf states: “I really stand out because I look different. It was really emotional. I remember looking at it and thinking, almost whatever happens now…mine will always be the one that looks different.”

TIME Editor-in-Chief Sam Jacobs said: “Through Next Generation Leaders, we explore influence in many forms, including artistry, athleticism, and activism. And we examine rising leaders breaking barriers in traditional realms of power like politics.

"Representing this fall’s group on the cover is the First Minister of Scotland, Humza Yousaf, who has earned himself a growing series of firsts.

"Yousaf is leading at a moment of competing crises­—scandal hitting his Scottish National Party and significant increases in the cost of living, to name just two.



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