Home » Next SNP Leader Odds: Yousaf Tipped Over Regan As Nicola Sturgeon Resigns

Next SNP Leader Odds: Yousaf Tipped Over Regan As Nicola Sturgeon Resigns

Next SNP Leader Odds: Yousaf Tipped Over Regan As Nicola Sturgeon Resigns

© PA


Betting sites have crushed their odds on Kate Forbes becoming the next SNP leader but still have Humza Yousaf as the frontrunner for the role.

Forbes is considered a socially conservative candidate for the post and has sparked controversy over her stance on gay rights. 

Yousaf, meanwhile, has warned against the party pushing a right-wing agenda in his pitch to replace Nicola Sturgeon.

The Scottish National Party is scrambling to appoint a new leader – and de-facto First Minister – after Sturgeon’s surprise resignation in February.

Sturgeon will stay on until the three-way SNP leadership contest is over later this March, before stepping away from frontline politics.

William Hill Sports

Established 2008


18+. Play Safe. From 00:01 on 17.10.2022. 3x £10 free bets. Free bets expire after 30 days. New customers signing up through mobile or tablet device only. Minimum £10 stake on odds of 1/2 (1.5) or greater on sportsbook (excluding Virtual markets). Further terms apply. #ad

Right now, it appears as though Forbes and Yousaf are heading for a head-to-head contest, while Ash Regan remains a big outsider for the position. 

The first hustings exposed a big divide in gender reform laws that have dogged the Scottish government for months.

Electing a new leader is seen as critical in the SNP’s ambitions to deliver an independent Scotland. 

But the latest polls suggest those north of the border are less invested in Scottish independence from the UK than at any time since the first referendum in 2014 – and a new leader will have a big job on their hands to reignite the debate.

Indeed, the leadership contest is already becoming a battle of policy and ambition, over independence. 

Gender reform, the NHS, Scotland’s economy and green issues are dominating the conversation. And the bookies can barely split Yousaf and Forbes.

Next SNP Leader Betting Odds

SNP Leader Betting

Sturgeon has already confirmed she will not publicly back a successor, and wants instead to lead that decision to the party.

“I firmly believe that my successor will lead Scotland to independence,” she said. “I’ve been thinking about it with oscillating intensity. A couple of weeks ago it started to crystallise a bit more.”

But there are more issues than simply independence for a new leader to contend with. First of all is a battle of wills over trans rights that has caused fractions within the party. 

On top of this, the state of the Scottish economy, education statistics and public health have come under scrutiny.

Bet365 Sports

Established 2001


18+. 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. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply.

A new leader will need to show Scots their party – which rules as a majority at Holyrood and which has 45 of the available 59 Scottish seats in Westminster – can take the country in the right direction.

Scotland right now doesn’t appear interested in breaking from the UK and a court order recently ruled that any permission for a Scottish Independence referendum would have to come from Westminster, not Holyrood.

The test for a new party leader and First Minister is therefore not about security IndyRef II any time soon, but about competently managing the country.

Here are the top four candidates for the role, according to the bookies.

Humza Yousaf

Health secretary Yousaf was the big benefactor in the SNP leadership markets on political betting sites when John Swinney and Angus Robertson confirmed they would not stand for the position. 

His odds came in from 10/1 to 4/9 overnight, and he was pitched as the clear frontrunner to replace Sturgeon.

But the odds have moved since Forbes and Regan made it three people on the ballot. Yousaf is now 4/5 to be the next First Minister – a price that offers a 55.6% probability. 

This puts him in front of the others, but is a drop from 69.2% just a week ago.

Yousaf has positioned himself as the ‘fresh start’ choice, a leader who reflects a modern Scotland and who can make a new argument for independence.

“We have to grow support for independence,” he said at the Cumbernauld hustings. 

“And it’s so important that whoever is first minister, that whether you’re lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, whatever, whoever you are, that you can look the first minister in the eye, and you can have confidence that they will not only protect your rights, that they will not only tolerate you, but that they will celebrate you and that they will advance your rights where they possibly can.”

Established 1997

18+ • New customer offer • Min deposit £10 • A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 • Min odds 1/2 (1.50) • Free Bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days • Free Bet stakes not included in returns • Casino Bonus must be claimed within 7 days and expires after 14 days • Bonus valid on selected Casino games only • Bonus wins capped at £500, excluding Jackpot wins • You must wager Bonus amount x40 – this requirement varies by game

Established 2001

18+. 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. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply.

Established 2007

New customers. Max £10. 200% Odds Boost Token. Keep it fun – set your deposit limit. T&Cs apply. 18+. BeGambleAware.org

Kate Forbes

Yousaf’s message around gay rights at the Cumbernauld hustings was a response to Forbes’ opposite stance. 

The Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch MSP says she wouldn’t seek to overturn gay marriage laws in Scotland if elected First Minister, but admits she would have voted against it.

This admission saw Forbes’ odds expand from from 3/1 to 5/1 at William Hill. 

Kate Forbes

The expectation was that she’d ruined her chances of winning the contest due to her conservative social views in a party that pitches itself as socially liberal.

But her price has since deflated again to 11/10, which suggests she has a 47.6% chance of winning this contest. Where has that confidence in Forbes come from?

A Sunday Times poll of SNP members backed her with 23% of the vote, as they believe she has done a good job as finance secretary. 

William Hill Sports

Established 2008


18+. Play Safe. From 00:01 on 17.10.2022. 3x £10 free bets. Free bets expire after 30 days. New customers signing up through mobile or tablet device only. Minimum £10 stake on odds of 1/2 (1.5) or greater on sportsbook (excluding Virtual markets). Further terms apply. #ad

Yousaf, in contrast, has a -16 approval rating for his job as health secretary.

Forbes therefore can’t be ruled out. Yousaf has warned against the SNP swinging to the right, and Labour would dearly love to reclaim votes from their biggest rivals north of the border.

Further hustings will give us a better impression of how successful Forbes could be.

Ash Regan

The Sunday Times poll suggests voters aren’t particularly interested in Regan, which arguably does the former community safety minister an injustice. 

The Forbes/Yousaf battle has drawn attention away from Regan and her odds have drifted from 4/1 to 11/1 with Ladbrokes.

Regan has tried to recapture the headlines with calls for Scotland to get its own currency “within months” of independence. But while she’s a dark horse here, the MSP for Edinburgh Eastern has supporters.

Ladbrokes Sports

Established 2000


18+ New UK+IRE Customers only. Certain deposit methods & bet types excl. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. No cashout, restrictions + T&Cs apply.

The Spectator suggests she is the new Alex Salmond, and is aligned with Alba policies. She denies this, but she is certainly more Alba-like than Sturgeon. 

She can’t be discounted, but she will need more policy ideas than delivering a Scottish currency upon independence to cut through the Yousaf/Regan storm.

How SNP Choose A Leader

Choosing a new SNP leader is a fairly uncommon occurrence. In 2014 when Sturgeon replaced Alex Salmond, no vote was held because she was the only candidate. 

Fast-forward nine years and the SNP have had to dust down the rule book and figure out how to elect a new leader within the space of a few weeks.

Each of the three leadership candidates needed a minimum 100 nominations from members spanning at least 20 SNP branches across Scotland.

Yousaf, Regan and Forbes all got through and conducted their first hustings as a trio on 1 March in Cumbernauld. Three televised debates are planned for March 7, 9 and 14.

Every SNP member will get to select their preferred leader, on a one member, one vote basis. The voting window is open between March 13 and 27, after which a winner will be announced.

Established 2001

18+. 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. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply.

Established 2020

18+, Welcome Bonus: New Players only, 1st Deposit, Min Deposit,: £10, max £10 free bet valid for 14 days, bets must be placed at odds of 1/1 or greater and be settled within 14 days of placement. System bets not eligible. Neteller,Skrill and Paypal not eligible. T&Cs apply

Established 1997

18+ • New customer offer • Min deposit £10 • A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 • Min odds 1/2 (1.50) • Free Bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days • Free Bet stakes not included in returns • Casino Bonus must be claimed within 7 days and expires after 14 days • Bonus valid on selected Casino games only • Bonus wins capped at £500, excluding Jackpot wins • You must wager Bonus amount x40 – this requirement varies by game

More than 100,000 SNP members are eligible to vote – a figure that makes up 1.8% of Scotland’s population. 

Last autumn Conservative members representing 0.1% of the UK voted in Liz Truss as the country’s new prime minister.

All three candidates have confirmed they will take part in televised political debates, which will see them put to the test in front of a live audience.

Issues that are likely to surface include LGBTQ+ rights, the economy, education and independence.