People who question the competence of Scotland’s new First Minister by calling him “useless” are racists, an SNP MSP has claimed.
Karen Adam, who loudly backed Humza Yousaf’s successful bid to succeed Nicola Sturgeon, said that he was already being targeted with “racist tropes” that were “utterly disgusting”.
Critics of Mr Yousaf, including within the SNP, have expressed doubts over his ability to be a successful First Minister after what they see as a succession of failures in less demanding ministerial jobs.
Opposition politicians regularly describe Mr Yousaf as “incompetent” or “useless”, pointing to issues such as the deepening crisis in the Scottish NHS, which he ran until he became First Minister last week.
However, in her column in the pro-independence newspaper The National, Ms Adam claimed that the new First Minister had been unfairly criticised since he announced his leadership bid because of the colour of his skin.
The comments sparked a race row in Scotland, with the Tories accusing the MSP of making “ridiculous” allegations when attacks had been based only on Mr Yousaf’s “woeful record”.
Ms Adam wrote that Mr Yousaf “had to go further for longer to be taken seriously” because of his ethnicity, in the same way that Scots had to “consistently prove ourselves to the British establishment and the naysayers that we are good enough”.
“The racist tropes used about him have been utterly disgusting,” she said. “I’m not opposed to people being scrutinised, particularly in public roles, but the level of racism and the sheer ignorance was astounding.
“Just to be clear, calling somebody lazy who clearly isn’t, who has had some of the hardest jobs in government and has been successful in many ways in those remits, is racism.”
“The terminology is used by racists to smear ethnic minorities all the time – ‘lazy’ or ‘useless’.”
Read More: Questioning Humza Yousaf’s competence is ‘racist’, says SNP MP