As the competition to succeed First Minister Nicola Sturgeon intensifies, the three contenders to become party leader have agreed to another televised debate.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes and former Community Safety Minister Ash Regan are in the running to become First Minister.

Channel 4 will air a new SNP leadership husting after STV produced a similar programme hosted by Scottish journalist Colin MacKay.

Here is everything you need to know about the SNP leadership contest and the upcoming Channel 4 debate.

Why is an SNP leadership contest taking place?

A Party leadership contest was called after Nicola Sturgeon announced her intention to step down from the top job after eight years in the role.

Nicola Sturgeon, who became party leader and First Minister in 2014, said during a press conference at Bute House: "The First Minister of Scotland is, in my admittedly biased opinion, the very best job in the world.

"It is a privilege beyond measure, one that has sustained and inspired me in good times and through the toughest hours of my toughest days.

"I am proud to stand here as the first female and longest-serving incumbent of this office, and I’m very proud of what has been achieved in the years I’ve been in Bute House.

Adding that leaders must know when to step down before telling the country: "Today, I am announcing my intention to step down as First Minister and leader of my party."

Who's running to be SNP leader?

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf is running and has described himself as Nicola Sturgeon's "continuity candidate' while Kate Forbes and Ash Regan have positioned themselves as candidates for 'change'.

Humza Yousaf received criticism for his handling of the NHS amid pressures on the service across the UK while Kate Forbes has been under fire for her socially conservative views.

Ash Regan has also drawn scrutiny because of policies like the independence 'readiness thermometer' as well as suggestions she would not challenge the UK Government over the Gender Recognition Reform.

East Lothian Courier: (PA) The SNP candidates also debated on STV this week(PA) The SNP candidates also debated on STV this week (Image: PA)

How will the SNP leadership debate on Channel 4 work?

The debate will be a 30-minute head-to-head clash between the candidates and will be broadcast UK-wide.

When is the Channel 4 SNP leadership debate?

The debate is taking place this Thursday (March 9) from 7 pm on Channel 4.

BBC to host SNP leadership husting in Debate Night special

The BBC has announced that it will also host a leadership debate featuring the three candidates running for FM.

The debate will have a live studio audience and form part of a special edition of Debate Night on BBC One.

It will take place from 9 pm on Tuesday, March 14 and be hosted by Stephen Jardine.

The SNP leadership debate on Channel 4 will take place on Thursday, March 9 from 7 pm.