'Dangerous' Humza Yousaf has launched a 'scary and worrying' crack down on dissenting voices warns Douglas Ross

Humza Yousaf

Humza Yousaf has been accused of rejecting free speech within his party

Dan Falvey

By Dan Falvey

Published: 01/10/2023

- 15:30

Fergus Ewing was suspended from the SNP earlier this week

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross it out at the SNP's "scary" and "worrying" attempts to crack down on free speech while addressing supporters at the Tories' annual conference.

The party's leader north of the border said it was "wrong" that Humza Yousaf's party was attempting to stop those in the party who disagreed with its leadership from speaking out.

On Wednesday veteran MSP Fergus Ewing was suspended from the SNP for one week after voting against the Scottish government on multiple occasions.

Earlier in the week Ross suffered dissent of his own when Scottish Tory MSP Maurice Golden has voted against an amendment from his own party on the environment.

\u200bDouglas Ross

Douglas Ross addressed Conservative members at the Tory party's annual conference


But speaking at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester today, Ross said he would not be disciplining Golden.

"There will be no punishment again Maurice for voting against the Government on that," he said.

"I would be slightly hypocritical if I did that because I voted against the UK Government at times."

Comparing his approach to the SNP, he added: "I have a serious disagreement with Maurice on this issue.


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  • Douglas Ross

    The Scottish Conservative leader warned Humza Yousaf is 'dangerous


    "I think he is wrong, but I don't try to stop him articulating his views.

    "He is entitled to have those opinions.

    "The fact that a majority of SNP MSPs supported their leadership in suspending Fergus Ewing for a week shows that you're not allowed a dissenting voice within the governing party of Scotland.

    "I think that is scary, it is worrying, and it is wrong.

    "I disagree with Maurice but I would never stop him trying to make his points."

    The SNP has been accused of repeated action to silence those within its own party who disagree with its leaderships' policy stances.

    SNP MP Joanna Cherry was sacked from the party's Westminster frontbench in 2021 after disagreeing with the party's trans rights policy.

    Meanwhile former leadership candidate Ash Regan has been left out in the cold by Yousaf since he won the party's leadership race earlier this year.

    Speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, he also took aim at Yousaf’s record and his partnership with the “extremist” Scottish Greens.

    “Humza Yousaf is a danger to Scotland,” Mr Ross said, warning “he could drive Scotland to disaster if we’re not careful”.

    “We call him useless – but actually he’s reckless. He’s certainly more reckless than Nicola Sturgeon.

    “On independence, he is more rash, irresponsible and hasty than even Nicola Sturgeon was at her worst.

    “He is prepared to push harder and more aggressively than she did for independence.

    “He has said it himself – in next year’s general election – even if he loses a bunch of his MPs but manages to squeak a majority by a single seat, no matter his share of the vote, he will declare independence.

    “Even Nicola Sturgeon would have dismissed that plan as too far.”

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