Next SNP Leader Odds: Swinney Tipped Over Forbes After Yousaf Resignation

Author Image Article By Joe Short GDC - Icon - Black - Info
Date IconLast Updated: 
Share On Your Network
Next SNP Leader Odds: Swinney Tipped Over Forbes After Yousaf Resignation
© PA

Betting sites expect John Swinney to become the next SNP leader following Humza Yousaf’s shock resignation as Scotland's first minister.

Mr Yousaf has stepped down following the collapse of a power sharing agreement at Holyrood with the Scottish Greens.

He had been in the post a little over a year after succeeding Nicola Sturgeon. His decision to quit leaves the party in turmoil just months out from a momentous general election in the UK.

“After spending the weekend reflecting on what is best for my party, for the government and for the country I lead, I've concluded that repairing our relationship across the political divide can only be done with someone else at the helm,” he said.

“I have therefore informed the SNP's national secretary of my intention to stand down as party leader.”

Mr Swinney is the immediate favourite with the bookies, but Mr Yousaf will remain as leader until a successor is found. 

UK bookmakers also reckon Kate Forbes, Neil Gray and Jenny Gilruth are in with a shout of leading the party.

Here, we look at the main candidates to be the next SNP leader.

Next SNP Leader Betting Odds

PoliticianOdds
Probability
John Swinney2/5
71.4%
Kate Forbes3/1
25%
Neil Gray9/2
18.2%
Jenny Gilruth12/1
7.7%
Stephen Flynn20/1
4.8%
Mairi McAllan50/1
2%

Next SNP Leader Betting

Mr Yousaf’s decision to break the power sharing agreement with the Greens was a big gamble as Scotland gears up to vote in the general election later this year. 

The maths in Holyrood means the SNP may have to court Alba’s sole MSP Ash Regan for support.

However, those discussions will likely be placed on the back-burner until the party has its house back in order. 

The likes of Labour will be delighted with the turmoil as they seek to regain seats north of the border at the next general election.

It means the SNP’s choice of new leader is of huge importance. Here are the five frontrunners for the post…

John Swinney

Mr Swinney says he is “giving very careful consideration” to running for leader after declining to go for the job in 2023. 

The former Deputy First Minister stood down when Ms Sturgeon resigned. He led the party way back in 2004 and is popular among party members.

It would make sense from a stability point of view for members to back him. 

He would offer a consistent presence at a time where the party is in disarray and is available at 2/5 with political betting sites.

Established 2001
Politics Specials
Politics Futures Betting
Yes
Yes
Live Markets
21
#ad. 18+. Gamble Responsibly. Gambleaware.org. New Customers only. Bet £10* & Get £30* in Free Bets. Sign up, deposit between £5* and £10* to your account and bet365 will give you three times that value in Free Bets when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Registration Required. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply.
Established 2007
Politics Specials
Politics Futures Betting
Yes
Yes
Live Markets
21
#ad. 18+. Gamble Responsibly. Gambleaware.org. New customers. Max £10 (exc. PayPal). 100% Odds Boost Token. Keep it fun - set your deposit limit. T&Cs apply.
Established 2006
Politics Specials
Politics Futures Betting
Yes
Yes
Live Markets
21
#ad. 18+. Gamble Responsibly. Gambleaware.org. This offer is valid for 7 days from your new account being registered. Min Deposit: £10. 1 x £10 must be wagered at odds of 1.75+ to unlock £10 Free Bet on qualification. Additional free bet from £2 to £20 awarded on eligibility on 14th June. Debit Card deposits only (exclusions apply). Free bet will expire 7 days after the 1st deposit. Bet The Responsible Way Full Terms apply

Kate Forbes

Kate Forbes was runner-up to Mr Yousaf in 2023 and ran him close. She took 47.9% of the vote and is “actively considering” running again. 

Her campaign was overshadowed by comments she would overturn gay marriage were she to become first minister.

Kate Forbes

For many, that’s what cost her the vote against Mr Yousaf.

Whether Ms Forbes can rival Mr Swinney in quite the same way remains to be seen. 

She will have a lot of support across the party, but the media spotlight might not be what the SNP needs right now and that’s why she is priced at 3/1.

Stephen Flynn

The SNP’s leader in Westminster, Stephen Flynn has a nationwide profile and could make a big impact on the party north of the border. 

He is erudite and personable, and exactly what the SNP need heading into a general election.

However, he would have to surrender his spot in Westminster and as Aberdeen South MP to take on the role properly. 

Joanna Cherry has already endorsed him, but Mr Flynn seems to be siding with Mr Swinney.

“There is only one person with the experience to do the job,” he said. Still, if Mr Swinney doesn’t run then Mr Flynn’s price of 20/1 with betting apps will almost certainly drop.

Mairi McAllan

There’s always an outside shot in the politics odds that focuses on a rising star. Mairi McAllan is just that. 

The MSP for Clydesdale is just 31, but worked as a special advisor for Ms Sturgeon. 

She is wellbeing economy, net zero and energy secretary, which could come in handy if the SNP court the Greens again.

However, she is also due to go on maternity leave this summer. It’s possible she could announce a leadership campaign, but at 50/1 on new betting sites it’s unlikely that she would win.

Established 2001
TV/Awards/Music Betting
Politics Betting
Yes
Yes
Manager Sack Race Betting
Acca Insurance - Y/N Tooltip Refund or free bet when one selection in an accumulator lets the bet down
No
No
#ad. 18+. Gamble Responsibly. Gambleaware.org. New Customers only. Bet £10* & Get £30* in Free Bets. Sign up, deposit between £5* and £10* to your account and bet365 will give you three times that value in Free Bets when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Registration Required. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply.
Established 2007
TV/Awards/Music Betting
Politics Betting
Yes
Yes
Manager Sack Race Betting
Acca Insurance - Y/N Tooltip Refund or free bet when one selection in an accumulator lets the bet down
Yes
Yes
#ad. 18+. Gamble Responsibly. Gambleaware.org. New customers. Max £10 (exc. PayPal). 100% Odds Boost Token. Keep it fun - set your deposit limit. T&Cs apply.
Established 2003
TV/Awards/Music Betting
Politics Betting
No
No
Manager Sack Race Betting
Acca Insurance - Y/N Tooltip Refund or free bet when one selection in an accumulator lets the bet down
No
No
#ad. 18+. Gamble Responsibly. Gambleaware.org. New bettors; Code SPORT; Wager deposit & bonus 8x; Max qualifying bet stake=initial bonus; Valid 60 days; Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply.

Best Of The Rest

Both Neil Gray (9/2) and Jenny Gilruth (12/1) have already announced they will endorse Mr Swinney for the leadership. 

Their odds were initially set competitively behind Mr Swinney and Ms Forbes but will soon balloon.

A more realistic name, though, is Shona Robison. The finance secretary has served as MSP for Dundee City East since 2003. She herself could face a challenge to her position under new leadership.

So, why not go for the job herself? The bookies are yet to offer Ms Robinson a price, but she could come in ahead of Mr Flynn if she does indeed announce her intention to run.

How The SNP Leadership Works

The SNP leadership election won’t start straight away. Mr Yousaf has only signalled his intention to resign. Once he actually resigns then a 28-day countdown begins.

Mr Yousaf’s decision to quit means opposition MSPs cannot force through a no-confidence vote and therefore will have to wait longer for the change in his party. 

So, it’s now a waiting game as the SNP decides what to do next.

The party will eventually set out a timetable for the leadership battle. There will be a nominations period and then a few hustings before the ballot process.

Voters will likely be asked to provide a first choice and second preference on the ballot. This means we could have two rounds before the final result is known.

However, if just two candidates run then it will be a case of totting up the votes and seeing which name comes out on top in the first round.

Updated by GDC - Icon - Black - Info

Joe Short

Last Updated Icon

Last Updated:  

Share:
Facebook Icon Twitter Icon Linkedin Icon Email Icon Copy Link Icon