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SNP to target 'all six' Tory seats at upcoming general election

First Minister Humza Yousaf will launch his party's general election campaign in Glasgow | Alamy

SNP to target 'all six' Tory seats at upcoming general election

First Minister Humza Yousaf will today launch the SNP’s general election campaign by vowing to take all six seats won by the Tories at the last election.

Yousaf, who will appear at an event in Glasgow alongside SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn, is expected to say that only by voting for the SNP will Scots be able to “kick the Tories out of Scotland for good”.

He is expected to say that his party is specifically targeting “every Tory-held seat in Scotland” and that he wants to “wipe the Tories from Scotland’s electoral map by winning all six of those Tory seats”.

Currently the Conservatives have seven Scottish MPs, including Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross and Scottish secretary Alister Jack, although the East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow constituency was originally won by the SNP at the last election.

The seat changed to the Tories last October when sitting MP Lisa Cameron crossed the house in response to what she called “toxic and bullying” behaviour on the part of her then colleagues in the SNP – something senior party representatives have refuted.

It came after local MSP Collette Stevenson and former Holyrood deputy presiding officer Linda Fabiani, who previously held Stevenson’s seat, backed Cameron's rival Grant Costello to become the party’s general election candidate. Costello ultimately won the nomination and will represent the SNP in the revamped East Kilbride and Strathaven constituency.  

Yousaf is today expected to note that the SNP came second in all six seats won by the Conservatives at the last general election and that while it is a “big ask” to overtake the Tories this time round he does not believe that "you go into elections unless you are willing to be ambitious”.

“It’s also the case that in more than half of the SNP-held seats, it is the Tories who are in second place,” he will say.

“So, to people right across the country, our message will be very clear: vote SNP for a Tory-free Scotland.”

Scottish Conservative chairman Craig Hoy responded by saying the only way to stop the “independence-obsessed SNP” is to vote Tory.

“The Scottish public are sick and tired of the independence-obsessed SNP ignoring their real priorities – such as the economy and Scotland’s ailing public services – and trying to turn the next election into a de facto referendum on separation,” he said.

“Voters know that the only way to shift the focus onto the issues that matter to them – and shut the door on Humza Yousaf’s independence plan for good – is to unseat SNP MPs.

"And, as Humza Yousaf points out, in swathes of constituencies across the country, only the Scottish Conservatives can do that.”

Yousaf will also use his speech to make the case that “only the SNP can ensure Scotland’s voice is heard at Westminster”.

Earlier this week Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar made similar claims in a New Year speech to voters in Rutherglen, where Labour last year replaced the SNP in a byelection triggered after sitting MP Margaret Ferrier was ousted for breaking Covid rules.

Sarwar used his speech to urge Scottish voters to back Labour at the general election to “maximise Scotland’s influence and give Scotland a seat at the table”.

“Electing Scottish Labour MPs won’t just be about playing our part in getting rid of a Tory government or helping to form a Labour one, which is of course important,” he said.

“It’s about making sure that Scotland has a voice at the heart of the next UK Labour government so that it delivers for Scotland.

“After a decade of SNP MPs shouting at Westminster with nothing to show for it, it’s about demonstrating that Scotland’s voice must be more than just a protest.”  

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