Kate Forbes has said she hopes the Scottish Greens can 'embrace' her as First Minister Humza Yousaf fights for his political future ahead of two votes of no confidence next week.

Ms Forbes, the former finance secretary, was narrowly defeated by Mr Yousaf in last year's SNP leadership contest and is seen by many in the party as a favourite to succeed him should he be forced to step down.

Writing in The National today she called on all parties to support the First Minister in the no confidence votes but also - perhaps signalling a possible new tilt at the leadership - called for the personal backing of the Greens.

The First Minister has said he is not resigning and is writing to other parties in the Scottish Parliament - inviting them to talks to find a way forward.

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf faces a crisis – of his own making, says Brian Taylor

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf defiant as future hangs in the balance

Mr Yousaf terminated the powersharing deal between the SNP and Scottish Greens on Thursday, leading to the smaller pro-independence party to turn against him.

Another SNP MSP who has previously rebelled from the party whip in votes at Holyrood, Ivan McKee, also said the party is uniting behind Mr Yousaf.

Ms Forbes, who came second in the race to succeed Nicola Sturgeon last year, said recent events had been "an embarrassment for every parliamentarian in every party".

Writing in The National, Ms Forbes said: "It is easy to be loyal to a party when times are good and the party is ahead in the polls.

"But you find out what real leadership is - and what real loyalty looks like - when times are tougher and that is why I will back the SNP and the First Minister through next week's fight and I urge everyone in our party and everyone who cares about Scotland to do the same."

During last year's leadership contest, the Greens said they would not support Ms Forbes becoming First Minister and would pull out of the Bute House Agreement if she became SNP leader.

With the pact now ended and the SNP now governing as a minority, Ms Forbes underlined what she saw as the merits of working as a minority government, pointing to Alex Salmond's from 2007 to 2011 and describing it as "devolution’s most productive administration". Ms Sturgeon's government from 2016 to 2021 was also a minority.

"It is interesting to reflect that it was perhaps the minority government between 2007 and 2011, where there was no majority and the parliamentary arithmetic was at its most precarious, that has been devolution’s most productive administration," Ms Forbes wrote in The National.

"Cabinet ministers were able to work with all parties and the public rewarded the SNP with a majority in 2011. That should not dissuade minority parties from working with the SNP but instead they should learn the lesson that the public is best served when we all work together and that is when the political class is most respected."

She then went on to urge the Scottish Greens for their personal backing.

She wrote: "Let us get away from the language of who is and who is not acceptable to work with. For example, well before and during the Bute House Agreement, Patrick Harvie and I worked together – that is no secret. The question therefore isn’t whether my world is big enough to embrace the Greens – it is. The question is whether their world is big enough to embrace me. I hope and believe it is."

Former SNP minister Mr McKee was asked if Mr Yousaf would resign if he lost the confidence vote.

He told the BBC's Good Morning Scotland radio programme: "I don't think there's any doubt about that.

"The vote of confidence, while not legally binding would be a clear indication of the will of the parliament.

"And if you lose a vote of no confidence then clearly you don't have the confidence of the parliament.

"But I think, as I said, the First Minister's using his political skills to negotiate to make sure that he doesn't lose that (vote)".

He said the First Minister is confident he can do a deal to win the vote, saying: "At the moment everybody in the SNP is focused on making sure we win that vote of no confidence."

Both Ms Forbes and Mr McKee had previously voiced doubts about the Bute House Agreement, which brought the Greens into the Scottish Government in 2021.

Amid the tight parliamentary arithmetic at Holyrood, the vote of Alba Party Holyrood leader - and former SNP MSP - Ash Regan could be crucial to Mr Yousaf's political survival.

She is one of the political leaders Mr Yousaf will be writing to ahead of the confidence votes in Holyrood.

In a BBC interview on Friday, Ms Regan said she had not spoken to Mr Yousaf since the leadership contest last year. She said she is still considering how to cast her vote.

She said: "I think that potentially some of the things he said about me when I left to go to a different political party last year probably shows that it's always wise to have that level of professional courtesy to people that you work with."

In October last year, Mr Yousaf said Ms Regan's defection to Alba was "no great loss".

On Friday, Mr Yousaf was adamant he would win the confidence votes but said he would not rule out an early Holyrood election.
He told the PA news agency: "When the vote comes I fully intend to win."

Scottish Green co-leader Patrick Harvie has said it is "pretty clear" Mr Yousaf will not be able to unite Holyrood - urging the SNP to consider finding a replacement for him.