SNP leadership: I would be upset with staff if they put work before family, says Humza Yousaf

Would-be first minister Humza Yousaf has said he would be upset with members of his staff if they put work before their family.

The Scottish Health Secretary said that if he wins the race for Bute House, he will look to “draw boundaries” to ensure he does not miss time with his children.

The SNP leadership contest looks likely to deliver the first, first minister since devolution with young children as Mr Yousaf and Finance Secretary Kate Forbes are the top two in polling.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

When the Scottish Parliament was created in 1999, steps were taken to ensure processes would be friendly to parliamentarians with young families, something that has come under increasing scrutiny in previous years after a number of MSPs stepped down due to the difficulty of balancing their political life with family.

Humza Yousaf at hustings in Aberdeen on SundayHumza Yousaf at hustings in Aberdeen on Sunday
Humza Yousaf at hustings in Aberdeen on Sunday

Mr Yousaf said: “If I am – hopefully when I am – first minister, I’m going to make it really clear to my colleagues in government, to the civil service, to my party colleagues, that we work hard to deliver for the people of Scotland, but also that they must put their family first, they must put their family first and foremost.

“I would go as far as saying I will be upset if people are sacrificing really important time with their family.

“Because ultimately, for me, my belief is nothing is more important than family.

“The job is relentless, we have to accept that, but if you sacrifice time with your family, you do not get that time back.”

In the days after Nicola Sturgeon announced she would stand down, Mr Yousaf said his family were among the main considerations he would need to make when looking at running as her successor.

He concedes the campaign – which has taken all three candidates across the country for hustings events – has had an impact on his family.

His three-year-old daughter, he says, has “become quite clingy” when she does see him, adding that he has been forced to spend an extended period without seeing his 13-year-old step-daughter due to the travel demands of the campaign.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Yes is the short answer, it has already had an impact,” he said.

“It’s one of those things you’re always going to worry about if you end up being in the position of first minister.

“You’ve got to draw boundaries, you’ve got to really early on.”

Asked if the impact on his family life had given him pause for thought around his desire for the top job, Mr Yousaf said his worry had not gone “as far as that”.

But he added: “I will be honest and really upfront… my wife has said a couple of times ‘my goodness, this is going to b3 really tough for the family’.”

He does have moments, he said, where he wonders “how are we going to manage this with young kids?”, adding: “But we will.”

The drawing of boundaries for the Health Secretary has already started in his current role, where he has asked his team not to contact him for an hour on Monday evenings so he can give his daughter a bath and put her to bed.

“I think you’ve got to try your best to create those boundaries as best as you possibly can from day one,” he said



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.