Humza Yousaf delivers masterclass in handling hecklers

During an appearance at the festival, one heckler stood up and said ‘f*** you’ to the First Minister and called him a bigot

Audience members at Humza Yousaf’s Edinburgh Fringe show saw first hand just what the First Minister has to put up with as a person of colour.

Mr Yousaf was being interviewed by LBC’s Iain Dale at the EICC when he was heckled not once, not twice, but three times.

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While two of the hecklers were wanting to highlight issues close to their hearts - climate change and support for care-experienced youngsters - one had to be ejected after saying “f*** you” and branding Mr Yousaf a bigot.

Mr Yousaf was in the middle of discussing his experiences of racism when a male audience member stood up and shouted: “A few days ago you called out bigots and said ‘F you’ - your white speech was the most bigoted thing Scotland has ever heard.

“On behalf of Scotland, f*** you, you’re a pestilence on this land, you’re despicable.”

In perhaps a masterclass on how to handle racists calmly, Mr Yousaf joked that at least it made a change from his dad heckling him.

He was then rewarded with a round of applause from the crowd as he said “too many people have been racist to me in my life and if people don’t like that they can get shown the door” - timed perfectly as the heckler was shown the door by security.

But perhaps the reason he was so calm in his response is because sadly, this isn’t anything new for him.

He went on to tell the audience about his “frustration” with experiencing racism, saying he had discussed this issue with other politicians of colour such as London Mayor Sadiq Khan and former MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh.

He said: “I can’t not be conscious of my colour, because everyone else is conscious of it.”

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The First Minister also handled the second hecklers well - two women stood up asking why he wasn’t calling out Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for approving 100 new oil and gas licences.

However the pair quickly lost the upper hand after Mr Yousaf responded: “I have - my public comment is that I don’t think it is the right thing to do.

“Scotland’s future is in renewables and while we can’t turn off the taps tomorrow, I condemn his comments.”

For the political journalists in the audience the rest of his show touched on topics that are already well documented in his first few months as First Minister.

But for others in the audience this was probably the first time they’d had a chance to be face-to-face with the new man in charge.

He told them how honoured he was to lead the country - but expressed his disappointment he wasn’t heading up the national football team instead.

He said: “There is no greater honour than to lead your country.

“To me it feels like being captain of the national football team, this is the closest I will ever get.”

Iain Dale then asked if that’s the case, when he will stop scoring own goals, to which he replied: “It’s a game of two halves.”



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