TODAY (Tuesday, March 28) MSPs are voting on their next First Minister after Humza Yousaf was announced as the new leader of the SNP yesterday (March 27).

The 37-year-old who had been Health Secretary received 52.1 per cent of SNP membership votes, compared to 48 per cent given to Kate Forbes.

Mr Yousaf has vowed to to "be the team that delivers independence" and promised to bring his party together.

Mr Yousaf also declared that as First Minister he would protect the people of Scotland from the "harm" caused by the cost-of-living crisis, as well as a bid to "recover and reform" the NHS.

However, Borders MSP Rachael Hamilton has called on Mr Yousaf to take issues facing rural communities "more seriously" and said that she will "keep and open mind" about working with the new leader.

Ms Hamilton, who represent Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire for the Conservatives, added: "The Borders, as well as other rural areas in Scotland, has been ignored for too long by this SNP Government.

"Last week, I wrote to the candidates about the need to focus on key issues faced by our rural communities. I hope that Mr Yousaf will take these issues more seriously than his predecessor.

"Nonetheless, I hope to be able to engage with the new leader of the SNP on issues affecting the Borders, and will keep an open mind about areas where we can work together to make improvements to our Borders communities.”

At Murrayfield on Monday, after his announcement as leader, Mr Yousaf said: "We are no longer team Humza, or team Ash, or team Kate.

"We are one team, and we will be the team, we will be the generation that delivers independence for Scotland.

"Where there are divisions to heal we must do so quickly because we have a job to do.

"As a party we are at our strongest when we are united and what unites us is our shared goal of delivering independence for our nation.

"To those in Scotland who don't yet quite share that passion that I do for independence, I will aim to earn your trust by continuing to ensure we govern well, and earn your respect as First Minister by focussing on the priorities that matter to all of us.

"And in doing so, using our devolved powers to the absolute maximum effect to tackle the challenges of the day.

"My solemn promise and commitment to you is that I will kickstart our grassroots, our civic-led movement and ensure our drive for independence is in fifth gear.

"The people of Scotland need independence now, more than ever before, and we will be the generation that delivers independence for Scotland."