Humza Yousaf ‘skipped gay marriage vote due to religious pressure’
Douglas Ross slams Humza Yousaf’s record whilst in office
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SNP leadership hopeful Humza Yousaf skipped a key vote on gay marriage due to “religious pressure”, former party leader Alex Salmond claimed. Mr Salmond admitted that Mr Yousaf seems to have a “different recollection” over the events surrounding the historic 2014 vote for gay marriage in Scotland. This came after the Scottish health secretary denied deliberately setting up a diary clash weeks in advance.
Mr Salmond claimed he was told of Mr Yousaf’s meeting “10 days or so before the vote”.
The politician, who now leads the Alba party, was the leader of the SNP at the time.
He told Sky News: “I’ve been very reluctant to get involved in this because it is an internal SNP leadership battle.
“I really don’t have a dog in this race, and anything I say, you know, people will say ‘he’s only saying that because he’s the leader of Alba’.
“My memory is that I was contacted 10 days or so before the vote, when the vote was known, and told that Humza was arranging a ministerial appointment.”
When asked whether Mr Yousaf skipped the vote due to “religious pressure”, Mr Salmond said: “That’s my recollection.”
Former health secretary Alex Neil also alleged that Mr Yousaf had asked to skip the final vote due to pressure from a mosque.
Mr Neil claimed the meeting had been “arranged deliberately to give him cover for the timing of the vote”.
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Mr Salmond told Sky he had discussed the issue with people at the time, including Mr Neil, claiming that their memories are the same.
Mr Yousaf supported gay marriage in an earlier vote but missed the final one.
The leadership candidate claimed his abstention was being “dragged up” for political reasons by “people who are supporting other candidates”.
He told Sky: “I believe that people’s marriage, if they are gay and they are married, that their marriage is no more inferior, or worth less, than my marriage as a heterosexual individual.”
Sophie Ridge on Sunday: “I believe that people’s marriage, if they are gay and they are married, that their marriage is no more inferior, or worth less, than my marriage as a heterosexual individual.”
He said he missed the vote over the case of a Scottish citizen on death row in Pakistan, saying: “There was a series of meetings taking place between myself and the Pakistani government to get this individual back home. One of those meetings was during the stage three vote.
“Let me be unequivocal about it – if I was there I would have voted for it. That was well known at the time.”
Mr Yousaf has also voiced his support of the Scottish government’s controversial Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill, which has since been blocked by the UK government.
The issue of gay marriage in Scotland was thrown into the spotlight after fellow leadership candidate Kate Forbes voiced her opposition to it due to religious reasons.
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