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Woman raised in India by Christian missionaries tipped to be next Scottish leader – Times of India



Woman raised in India by Christian missionaries tipped to be next Scottish leader – Times of India

LONDON: Whilst outgoing first minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon’s downfall has been widely attributed to a furious backlash to her controversial gender reforms, the woman widely tipped to be her successor is rather different. Kate Forbes is a devout Christian who was raised by Christian Missionaries in India. She did not vote on the gender reform bill when it passed in the Scottish Parliament in December 2022 — which 33 MSPs voted against — owing to being on maternity leave. The bill was later blocked from gaining royal assent by Westminster.

The 32-year-old cabinet secretary for finance and the economy holds the second-most-senior position in the Scottish government and is said to be ready for a leadership bid when she returns to Holyrood.

The MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch has been a rising SNP star since being elected in 2016. Originally from Dingwall, her childhood was spent in Glasgow and India.

In an interview with MP Tim Farron in “Premier Christianity” magazine, she described her upbringing as “very strange”. She said she moved to India aged 10, being taken out of her “safe” primary school in Scotland and then settling in Ludhiana, Punjab, where she was in a classroom with 60 Indian children.

“My parents always disagreed with the characterisation of them as missionaries,” she said. “My sense of missionaries were of these brave, courageous souls that ended up being martyred for their faith. Instead we were a fairly ordinary family that found ourselves in India because my dad was involved with Bible teaching and he was also an accountant managing the finances of a group of mission hospitals, trying to balance the books and ensure that people were able to access free healthcare.”

Referring to her experience in the Indian school, she said: “If you got poor test results, you would feel the pain of a ruler on your palm. It was a total clash and while I had the security of my own family, it felt like everything else had changed. As a little 10-year-old with an inquisitive mind, I asked: ‘Why?’ Through being confronted by different faiths, I realised that there was only one thing that was consistent between Scotland and India — and that was God.”

Aged around 11 she said she was traumatised by witnessing the 2001 Gujarat earthquake first-hand and left India aged 15 to return to the UK. Forbes topped the list in a recent “Sunday Times” poll as to who should replace Sturgeon.
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