Humza Yousaf: My mother asked if Cabinet promotion was due to ‘annoying Nicola’

The Health Secretary was speaking at a fringe event at the SNP conference.

Humza Yousaf
Humza Yousaf

Scotland’s Health Secretary has revealed how his mother asked him if he had “annoyed” Nicola Sturgeon when he was appointed to the job.

Humza Yousaf, who took on the health portfolio after May’s Holyrood election, spoke about the challenges of his role.

He also revealed his first call after being made Health Secretary was from his mother – who was keen to find out what job he had been given in the Holyrood Cabinet reshuffle.

Mr Yousaf, speaking at a fringe event at the SNP annual conference, recalled: “I told her ‘Mum it’s a big one, its Health Secretary’.”

But he said his mother responded by saying: “What have you done to annoy Nicola?”

Mr Yousaf, who had been justice secretary prior to taking on the health portfolio, told the meeting he regarded his current role as “a vote of confidence and trust” from the First Minister.

Speaking about the job, he said: “It’s difficult, there’s no getting away from that, it’s stressful, its hard but genuinely hand on heart, the first six months of the job I have met the most incredible people, first and foremost, on the frontline who are doing some brilliant work.

“Also it’s why we get into public service – you get into public service to make a difference, and my goodness in the midst of a pandemic, with these winter pressures, I have got the ability to make a huge, huge difference.

“There will be some mistakes along the way, I don’t doubt it for a minute. But I have it in my power to make life just a little bit easier during a really, really pressured situation for the staff.”

He added: “I like a challenge and I don’t think it gets much bigger than this.”

Speaking about being in charge of the NHS in the midst of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Yousaf told how there is “an immediate issue every single day you have to get your head round and make sure you are absolutely on top of”.

But he also said: “You would not be doing our job correctly if you did not lift your head above that and look at the longer term.”

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