Tuesday briefing: Inside Humza Yousaf’s uphill battle to help the SNP rediscover its mojo

In today’s newsletter: A year since Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation, the SNP’s new leader has been trying to navigate a series of scandals and a threat from Labour ahead of the next general election

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Good morning.

It has been almost a year since Nicola Sturgeon let Scotland know she was standing down as first minister. After eight years, she was out of energy and stamina, she said, and could no longer do the job. The shock resignation sent the SNP into turmoil, and triggered the party’s first leadership election in two decades. The 12 months since have been challenging for the SNP’s new leader, Humza Yousaf. He was no amateur coming into the job, having spent 11 years in various ministerial roles, including health secretary during the pandemic, but the past year has been particularly fraught.

Labour | The Labour party has withdrawn its support for Azhar Ali, its candidate for this month’s Rochdale byelection, in the wake of controversial comments he made about the 7 October attacks. Ali suggested Israel had deliberately relaxed security after warnings of an imminent threat. The party cannot replace Ali because the deadline has passed so he will remain as a Labour candidate on the ballot paper, but if elected he will not hold the party whip and will sit as an independent MP.

Israel-Gaza war | Joe Biden has added his voice to growing international calls for Israel to drop plans for an all-out military assault on the city of Rafah, in southern Gaza, after a ferocious hostage rescue operation that killed dozens of Palestinians.

Health | Researchers have taken a major step towards a blood test that can predict the risk of dementia more than a decade before the condition is formally diagnosed in patients.

Horizon scandal | The former Post Office boss Paula Vennells gave Fujitsu a bonus contract in 2013 to take over an archive of branch data, despite warnings such a move would destroy evidence that might clear operators, whistleblowers have said.

Crime | Police officers from the Devon and Cornwall force accused of subjecting seven women to abuse including rapes, beatings, and psychological torment were allegedly protected by their force, with two appointed to roles protecting women from assault and harm.

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