The Levelling Up Secretary quipped that Yousaf was elected leader on 52% of the vote, to Kate Forbes’s 48% – the same margins as were delivered in the Brexit referendum.
The SNP previously tried to retest the EU question with a second vote – and Gove joked he hoped “SNP colleagues will agree there is no need for another vote”.
Speaking in the Commons on Monday after the result was announced, Gove said: “Can I, on behalf of the Government, extend my congratulations to Humza Yousaf on his election as leader of the Scottish National Party and we look forward to working with him in the future.
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“It has been noted that he won by the margin of 52% to 48%, so I hope that SNP colleagues will agree there is no need for another vote.”
Speaking in Essex this morning, the Prime Minister vowed to “fight very hard to protect [the Union] everyday that I am in this job”.
He said: “The SNP will do their thing, we will find out today. I am very clear that I passionately believe in our union… I care about our Union, I think it is very precious.
“When my grand parents emigrated to this country they didn’t come to England, they came to the United Kingdomn and that is because the UK represented a really powerful set of values and ultimately it is those values that bind us all together. It is not geography.
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“That idea that inspired my grand parents to emigrate here, the idea of what the United Kingdom stood for, what we were all about as a society, as a community, that is powerful, it is inspiring and I will fight very hard to protect it everyday that I am in this job.”
Speaking after the result, a Downing Street spokesperson said: “I think you know our well-established position.
“Reducing inflation, dealing with the cost of living, tackling backlogs, those are the issues the public care about. That’s what the Government will be focused on.
“More broadly, you’ve heard the Levelling Up Secretary congratulate Humza Yousaf on his election as leader of the Scottish National Party, and of course, the Prime Minister looks forward to working with him in the future.”
Yousaf will put himself forward as a candidate for first minister at a meeting of the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday and is expected to be elected as the head of government.