HUMZA Yousaf has predicted he will “p*** off some people” when he sets out a vision for his premiership next month that includes action on climate change.

The First Minister also hinted tax rises could follow his first Programme for Government, the annual legislative plan he will set out in September. 

He said one of the reasons he didn’t want Kate Forbes to remain finance secretary after he narrowly beat her in the SNP leadership race was her aversion to tax rises.

Explaining why he had chosen his close ally Shona Robison for the role, he said: “You have to have your finance secretary absolutely 100% aligned with your vision, with what you’re looking to do, and Shona was absolutely that person.

“There were some differences around progressive taxation [with Kate].”

Any income tax changes would be put into effect in the budget next spring.

Mr Yousaf made the comments on the Holyrood Sources podcast on Tuesday evening.

He also confirmed the SNP-Green joint government deal would stay in place to 2026, despite Ms Forbes and former minister Fergus Ewing demanding changes or an end to it.

Mr Yousaf said Mr Ewing’s increasingly strident public criticisms of the deal and other Scottish Government issues “doesn’t help our party or help our movement”.

He said he didn’t think the deal would be discussed at the SNP’s autumn conference.

Put to him that he hadn’t shown enough conviction as a leader to date, Mr Yousaf said most politicians ended up becoming “people pleasers” in the search for votes.

“But you absolutely, as a leader, as First Minister, you have to have conviction and choose a side. 

“There's a number of issues where in the Programme for Government that will be completely clear. I'll give you one example.

“I think the biggest existential issue our planet faces… [is] the climate emergency.

“You can’t sit on the fence, you can’t be mealy-mouthed about it. You have to pick a side.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a summer where every single week you've seen, with such visibility, the impact of the climate emergency right across the world.

“And you’ve a Prime Minister literally saying that he's on the side of the motorist, sitting in Margaret Thatcher’s old Rolls Royce and making it a wedge issue. 

“Now you've got Keir Starmer saying he’ll roll back on ultra low emission zones. 

“This is a time for politicians to take more action to tackle the climate emergency, not less actions. So, yes, I will be choosing sides because that's what you have to do and frankly that’s going to piss off some people.”

Asked about the controversy over investment firm Baillie Gifford sponsoring the Edinburgh International Book Festival, which has seen walk-outs by authors unhappy with its links to fossil fuels, he defended their right to do so but also the sponsorship.

He said: "I don't think we would have an Edinburgh International Book Festival if we didn't have Baillie Gifford and others supporting it. I think these things are absolutely a judgment call for the festival to make, but ultimately if they are on the journey to disinvestment in terms of fossil fuels, then I think that's a good thing."

He said the long-running police investigation into the SNP’s finances, with the arrest of senior figures, was hurting the party on the doorstep, and admitted worse might be to come.

He said: “To be frank, we don't know what the future holds either. It could be more challenging before it gets easier.”

He added: “I’ve had this literally said to me [on the doorstep] quite a number of times, Are you guys just the same as them? That’s challenging for us.”

Reflecting on polling numbers, he said he had had “many a challenging sleepless night thinking about how we wrest ourselves from what’s a difficult situation”.