The SNP’s Stephen Flynn has said he is “confident of success” at the next general election despite polls showing his party on course to lose a number of MPs.

A survey by Redfield and Wilton, published on Friday, put both the SNP and Labour on 35%, with the Conservatives far behind on 17% and the Lib Dems on 9%.

Even though they are tied, the first-past-the-post system and Scotland’s electoral geography, particularly the concentration of Labour voters in the central belt, could mean Humza Yousaf losing 24 of his MPs, winning just 19 seats, while Sir Keir Starmer’s party take 27.

What could be even worse for the First Minister is that the Tory share of the vote will be enough for Rishi Sunak to keep some of his Scottish MPs.

The SNP’s strategy for the next vote, unveiled at their general election campaign launch on Friday, is to back the party to create a “Tory-free Scotland.”

READ MORE: Yousaf tells independence supporters they 'must' vote SNP

Speaking to BBC Scotland’s Sunday show, Mr Flynn said: “Well, of course what we did the other day was launch our general election campaign because whether it's May or whether it's November, we were ready for a general election.”

He said the SNP were “ready to make sure that Scotland is free of the Conservatives and ultimately the only way to do that is to vote for the SNP because in around half of the seats in Scotland, it's going to be a straight-up fight between ourselves and the Scottish Tories.”

The Herald:

Mr Flynn insisted the election was “going to be about much more than that.”

“It's going to be a battle of ideas as well. And ultimately, it's the SNP not the Labour Party or the Conservative Party who will always stand up for Scotland,” he added.

He said it was “not good enough, as Keir Starmer wants to simply say nothing and let the Conservatives collapse.”

“We have a solution to the cost of living cases in terms of energy bills, support, mortgage bill support, food bill support. When it comes to the big issues facing the economy, we believe that we should be in the European Union.

"We believe that migration is a good thing. It benefits our economy, it benefits our NHS and it benefits our social care service.

"When it comes to energy policy, we need to be doubling down on net zero because Scotland has natural resources which can ensure that people who live in Scotland, energy-rich Scotland aren't in fuel poverty.“

READ MORE: SNP MP calls Humza Yousaf snub to Commons committee 'disappointing'

When it was pointed out that support for independence had remained steady - the Redfield and Wilton poll had No on 47% and Yes on 46% - while the SNP was struggling - Mr Flynn said anyone who wanted to leave the UK needed to back his party. 

“The reality is that if you vote in Scotland for a Labour MP or for a Tory MP, as soon as they have their feet under the table in Westminster, what they would seek to do is take Scotland's independence off it, the only surefire way to make sure that Scotland's independence remains relevant to the Westminster establishment and to the incoming Prime Minister is to vote for the Scottish National Party.”

Responding to the interview, Labour's shadow Scottish Secretary Ian Murray said “The SNP wants to make the next General Election about the constitution because it has no other ideas and cannot defend its own woeful record in government.

“Labour has led the way demanding action on the cost of living crisis and in government we will deliver it – lowering bills by up to £1,400 a year and making work pay.

“The SNP claims that it can kick the Tories out, but that’s blatantly false. If voters want to kick the Tories out of Downing Street they need to vote for that change with Labour.”

Scottish Tory chairman Craig Hoy said Scots were "sick and tired of hearing the feuding, scandal-ridden SNP bang the same drum about independence."

He added: “The SNP’s tone-deaf goal of ripping Scotland out of the UK shows how out of touch Humza Yousaf and Stephen Flynn are with what matters to real people.

“It is incredible that a time of declining standards in our schools, NHS waiting lists rising and the Scottish economy lagging behind the rest of the UK, the SNP want the next general election to be about independence."

READ MORE: SNP urge Labour to boost capital spend as ministers brace for cuts

In his analysis of the Redfield and Wilton survey, polling expert Mark Diffley, of the Diffley Partnership, told the Mail on Sunday: “If the results were replicated at a General Election, it is likely Labour would overtake the SNP in Westminster seats, winning around 27 compared with 19 for the SNP.

“Because there are so many tight Labour-SNP marginals, particularly in the Central Belt, if the Labour vote goes up and the SNP vote goes down, then a whole group of seats will fall to Labour.

“In 2019, Labour got 19 per cent and the SNP 45 per cent and this poll suggests the SNP will fall by 10 percentage points and Labour will gain about 16 percentage points, so this is quite a big swing.

“Clearly, a swing of this size suggests that many SNP seats, those with small majorities, could be at risk of falling to Labour. What it certainly implies is that the SNP loses a lot of seats.”