Kate Forbes is tipped to be Nicola Sturgeon’s replacement but her conservative Christian views and position on abortion and same-sex relationships are viewed as problematic by many.


Source: Reuters

Nicole Sturgeon stepped down as leader of leader Scotland’s SNP party last week leaving a First Minister of Scotland shaped hole that’s begging to be filled. Humza Yousaf, Scotland’s current secretary for health has thrown his hat in the ring, and his success would the nation had their first Muslim primary.

But he’s not the only candidate who has an active faith. Christian cabinet secretary for finance, Kate Forbes has taken the lead in the SNP poll. The ambitious 32-year-old has been vocal about her faith. In a 2021 BBC interview she told Nick Robinson: “To be straight, I believe in the person of Jesus Christ. I believe that he died for me, he saved me and that my calling is to serve and to love him and to serve and love my neighbours with all my heart and soul and mind and strength. So that, for me, is essential to my being. Politics will pass. I was a person before I was a politician and that person will continue to believe that I am made in the image of God.” 

“To be straight, I believe in the person of Jesus Christ.”

As a practicing Christian, this is music to my ears but not everyone is enamoured by the idea of a lover of Jesus heading up the Scottish nation. Kate’s staunch religious beliefs could be a challenge in the face of the SNP’s socially liberal policies.

Kate was born in Dingwall but raised in India until she was 15, where her father was a missionary. She graduated with degrees from Cambridge and Edinburgh before being elected as an MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch. She’s a member of the Free Church of Scotland, which holds strong conservative views on abortion and same-sex marriage. At a prayer breakfast in 2018 she was recorded as saying that politicians should recognise that the way we treat the “unborn” is a “measure of true success”.

The SNP currently holds a majority in Holyrood but the party is, on the whole, not culturally conservative. Tim Bale, professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London, told The Guardian: “It could be difficult for [other members of the SNP] to swallow somebody with very strong Christian beliefs, particularly if those bleed into trying to change the policies of the SNP.”

“Politics will pass. I was a person before I was a politician and that person will continue to believe that I am made in the image of God.”

But despite the resistance, the articulate accountant is quickly gathering momentum in her campaign to take up the primary party position. She humbly recognises that she’s had a meteoric rise in her career and is clever in the way she attributes her success. In an interview with Premier’s Christianity magazine, she said: “If anybody looks at my career, they’ll see that I’m where I am by accident – or there’s another word perhaps that those of us with faith would use in such circumstances!”