Kate Forbes insists SNP leadership campaign 'not over' as she sheds support over gay marriage

Kate Forbes has insisted her campaign to replace Nicola Sturgeon as first minister is “absolutely not over” as she continued to shed support over her views on gay marriage.

The finance secretary told The Scotsman she would have voted against gay marriage “as a matter of conscience” if she had been a member of parliament at the time.

The 32-year-old is a committed Christian and member of the socially conservative Free Church of Scotland.

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A number of MSPs who had backed her campaign – including three SNP ministers – have since confirmed they can no longer support it over the issue.

Kate ForbesKate Forbes
Kate Forbes

Tom Arthur, the public finance minister, tweeted: “Equal marriage is amongst our Parliament's greatest achievements and one that I would have been proud to vote for had I been an MSP when it was passed. Consequently, I am unable to continue to support Kate's campaign.”

Clare Haughey, the minister of children and young people, said: “I absolutely and completely support equal marriage. I am unequivocal on this issue. I cannot continue to support Kate’s leadership campaign.”

Ms Forbes was asked if her campaign was over before it began on BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme.

She replied: “Absolutely not. We have a large party membership, most of whom are not on Twitter. I understand people have very strong views on these matters. I think the public are longing for politicians to answer straight questions with straight answers and that’s certainly what I’ve tried to do in the media yesterday. That doesn’t necessarily allow for much nuance.

“My position on these matters is that I will defend to the hilt everybody’s rights in a pluralistic and tolerant society, to live and to love free of harassment and fear.”



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