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Kate Forbes will not attend SNP conference due to 'longstanding engagements' abroad

By Ali Morrison

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MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch Kate Forbes will not attend the SNP conference, the Times has reported.

Party members are set to gather in Aberdeen for the three-day annual conference from Sunday to Tuesday.

Kate Forbes. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Kate Forbes. Picture: James Mackenzie.

The Times has reported that Ms Forbes would "follow proceedings online" while abroad, attending “longstanding engagements” in the United States.

It is understood the trip had been arranged before dates for the conference were announced.

This is the first time the Highland MSP will have missed an SNP conference since she was elected in 2016.

She joins Fergus Ewing as the latest MSP who will not be attending the conference. The Inverness and Nairn MSP is currently appealing against a one-week suspension following several rebellions against the Scottish Government.

Ms Forbes' "eyebrow-raising" snub comes on the back of calls for First Minister Humza Yousaf to move “heaven and earth” to bring the former finance secretary back into the cabinet.

A defeat in the Rutherglen & Hamilton West by-election last week signalled further alarm bells for the party ahead of the next general election, heightening calls for Ms Forbes to be brought back into the government at a senior level.

A spokesman for Kate Forbes MSP said: “Kate is overseas due to longstanding engagements, which were arranged prior to conference dates being announced.

“She will be following the conference online, and is looking forward to the First Minister’s keynote address along with other important contributions from members.”

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