SNP leadership candidate Humza Yousaf visited Irvine today as he pledged to keep his campaign "a positive one" - despite coming under attack from rival Kate Forbes during a live TV debate.

Mr Yousaf was at Gro Coffee on Wednesday afternoon (March 8) on the latest leg of his campaign tour as he was joined by North Ayrshire SNP councillors and party activists.

He received criticism from the Scottish finance secretary over his record in government during the first TV debate of the campaign on Tuesday evening but said he will continue to "go high" - even if opponents 'go low'.

Given the chance to cross-examine each other, Ms Forbes said: “You were a transport minister and the trains were never on time, when you were justice secretary the police were stretched to breaking point, and now as health minister we’ve got record-high waiting times.

“What makes you think you can do a better job as first minister?”

For his part, the health secretary accused Ms Forbes of making a pitch to SNP members that would see the party “lurch to the right”.

Speaking to the PA news agency in Irvine on Wednesday, Mr Yousaf said there would be no “mudslinging” coming from his campaign.

“I’ve been very clear from day one that my campaign will be a positive one, that’s what people want to see from their first minister, it’s what they want to see from their party leader,” he said.

“If anybody goes low, I’ll keep going high and I’ve said that to every single person connected to my campaign – I’ve got a positive vision of how we can create and continue to create a socially just Scotland.

“I’ll not be slinging any mud at anybody, if people want to do that towards me that’s their prerogative.

“I’ll keep positive and everybody connected to my campaign will remain positive.

“Because I’ve got a vision, I want to inspire people and bring people towards our movement, you don’t do that by personal attacks.

“I’ll leave the others to do what they want to do, but my campaign will remain positive and I’ll only have good words to say about my opponents.”

Ms Forbes also said “more of the same” in the SNP is an “acceptance of mediocrity”, but the health secretary cautioned against attacks on the party’s record in government.

“It will do the party no favours, it will do our movement no favours, if people trash our record that has delivered us so much support and won us election after election after election,” he said.

“I won’t do that, I will stand proudly on the record of this SNP government.”