Kate Forbes has rejected a job offer from Scotland’s new first minister Humza Yousaf and will return to the backbenches after serving in government for almost five years.
A senior source told Sky News that Ms Forbes, who narrowly lost the SNP leadership race to Mr Yousaf on Monday, was asked to take on the role of rural affairs secretary – a big demotion from her previous role as finance secretary.
But the source said she turned down the position, meaning she will leave the frontbench and return to focusing on her job as a constituency MSP.
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After Mr Yousaf was named as the successor to Nicola Sturgeon on Monday – following her shock resignation last month – he suggested he would offer both Ms Forbes and his other rival, Ash Regan, roles in his new cabinet.
“We are no longer team Humza, Ash or Kate,” he said. “We are one team. And we will be the team, we will be the generation that delivers independence for Scotland.”
It is not yet clear which role might be offered to Ms Regan, or whether she would accept it.
But one new position that has been confirmed is deputy first minister, which will be taken by former health secretary and social justice secretary Shona Robison.