HUMZA Yousaf is set to demand that Holyrood has the power to hold an independence referendum in his first conversation with Rishi Sunak.

The new SNP leader and first minister-designate will remind the Prime Minister of the long-standing demand for a transfer of powers under a so-called Section 30 order.

The two men are expected to talk on the phone after Mr Yousaf is confirmed as first minister in a vote at the Scottish Parliament tomorrow.

Moments after giving his winner’s speech in the SNP leadership contest, Mr Yousaf confirmed he would ask for a Section 30 order “right away”.

In his speech, Mr Yousaf said he would put “the independent drive into fifth gear”.

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However he said people were not inspired by “getting stuck in a quagmire of process and talking about Section 30s and de facto referendums”, but by vision. 

Asked afterwards by ITV News about asking Westminster for another referendum, he said: “There will always be a request because we stood on a platform of a Section 30, of a mandate for a referendum. We’ve won election after election after election.”

Asked when the Prime Minister would hear from him, he said: “Straight away, I would hope.”

Asked if he would be asking for a Section 30 right away, Mr Yousaf replied: “Of course, we’ve been asking for a Section 30 for a long time.”

Nicola Sturgeon twice made formal requests for a Section 30 order - once to Tory PM Theresa May and then to her successor Boris Johnson, and was refused both times.  

Last year she had the issue of whether Holyrood could hold a referendum under its existing powers, without Westminster’s consent, referred to the UK Supreme Court. 

However her attempt to overcome London’s block failed, when the Court unanimously ruled that Holyrood did not have such a power, as the Union was reserved to Westminster.

Tory MSP Donald Cameron said: “The people of Scotland will be astonished and dismayed that within minutes of being elected SNP leader, Humza Yousaf’s focus was on the SNP’s default obsession with independence.

“The vast majority of them want and expect the new First Minister to focus on the real priorities facing the nation – the cost-of-living crisis and fixing our NHS – rather than yet more constitutional stunts designed to stoke grievance with the UK government.

“On day one he has broken his promise to govern in the interests of the whole of Scotland to instead focus on the only issue that his divided party agree on.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton added: “This is just the same old same old. The SNP is tired and out of touch, and it doesn’t look as if Humza Yousaf wants to make that any better.

“On health, on education, on the cost of living, on the climate emergency, the nationalists have no credible strategy. 

“At Humza Yousaf’s lead, the SNP will continue to haemorrhage reasonable, fair-minded minded voters who simply want good governance, not wrecking balls to unity and partnership.”

The UK Government quashed any prospect of Section 30 order being granted to Mr Yousaf's administration. 

“I think you know our well-established position,” the Prime Minister’s spokesman told reporters.

“Reducing inflation, dealing with the cost of living, tackling backlogs, those are the issues the public care about.

“That’s what the Government will be focused on.

“More broadly, you’ve heard the Levelling Up Secretary  [Michael Gove] congratulate Humza Yousaf on his election as leader of the Scottish National Party and, of course, the Prime Minister looks forward to working with him in the future.”

The official said he was not aware of any formal request having been made by Mr Yousaf.