Humza Yousaf has put his leadership on the line by repeatedly declaring that the SNP “will win” the general election, despite the party slipping in the polls.

Addressing activists in Perth, the First Minister also claimed that Labour could be “even more callous than the Tories” in power.

And he mocked Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, predicting he would “bend the knee to Sir Keir Starmer” rather than stand up Scotland’s interests.

“We must, and we will, win this general election,” he said

A recent poll predicted the SNP, which won 48 of Scotland’s 59 Westminster seats in 2019, would fall behind Labour in the coming election, which is based on 57 redrawn seats.

Despite the dire forecasts, and speculation that SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn could replace him after a bad result, Mr Yousaf insisted the SNP would be victorious.

Speaking at the SNP National Campaign Council, he said: “No matter what the Westminster parties throw at us – there is one thing we have that they never will.

“We have an alternative to broken Brexit Britain. That alternative is independence.

“That is why the SNP will win the General Election in Scotland

“We have to win the election, because when the SNP wins, Scotland wins.”

He went on: “The more people in Scotland see of Keir Starmer’s Labour, the less enthusiasm there is for a Party that stands for managing UK economic decline, with the only thing changing being the resident of Number 10.

“We have every right to be confident of winning the election in Scotland.” 

His spokesman later defined “win” as the SNP taking at least 29 of the 57 new constituencies, not merely winning the largest block of seats.

Asked if Mr Yousaf's position would be untenable if the SNP fell short of his 29 seat target, the spokesman said he wouldn't answer a question predicated on failure.

With the Tories and SNP in theoretical second and first place in 28 of the 57 seats, Mr Yousaf the election was “a straight fight between the SNP and Tories”.

He said: “Let us resolve, here and now, to win each and every one of those Tory seats. From the Highlands to the Borders, let’s rid this country of Tory MPs once and for all.”

He said it was his party’s “duty to the people of Scotland... to get rid of the seven spineless Scottish Tory MPs currently at Westminster”.

One of the seven, Dr Lisa Cameron in East Kilbride, was an SNP MP for eight years before defecting to the Conservatives citing toxic bullying and infighting among her colleagues.

Speaking for barely 30 minutes, and announcing no new policies, Mr Yousaf also made several attacks on Labour. 

He said it was vital to reject “not just Tory politicians, but Tory policies, Tory ideas and Tory values… whether they’re delivered by someone in a blue rosette or a red one.” 

He said Labour were ready to accept “reckless Tory policies”.

He said: “We have a Labour Shadow Chancellor, pledging to keep Tory tax cuts for the rich, while planning a further £18bn of cuts.

Or a Labour Shadow Minister targeting people on benefits and trying to prove that they can be even more callous than the Tories.

“And it leaves us with the disgraceful position of seeing a Labour leader who wants to cap child benefits, but not bankers’ bonuses. That is unforgivable. 

“Every day Labour are showing Scotland exactly who they are. A party willing to sell out its founding values for a sniff of power.” 


He said the SNP was the only party arguing for “investment in public services, help with the cost of living, rejoining the EU and for Scotland’s right to choose our own future”.

He said: “The SNP is the only party standing on that positive platform – and that is exactly why we must, and we will, win this General Election.

“We know the Tories are on the way out, and good riddance to them. But Keir Starmer will ignore Scotland if SNP MPs are not in Westminster to ensure our voice is heard.

“Who else will stand up for Scotland, Labour’s Branch Manager?

“After all, Anas Sarwar has promised us that he’ll stand up to Keir Starmer. 

“I’m sure Sir Keir is terrified at the thought, quaking in his boots.

“He can’t stand up to his own Scottish Labour MPs – both of them defied his orders on Gaza and lined up behind Keir Starmer.

“He can’t even stand up to his councillors.  This month we’ve had the shameful spectacle of Inverclyde Labour increasing council tax by more than 8% against his direct orders.

“Anas Sarwar isn’t going to stand up for Scotland - he would bend the knee to Sir Keir Starmer. The only outcome Westminster fears is an SNP victory – and the more SNP MPs we have the louder Scotland’s voice will be.”

Scottish Tory chairman Craig Hoy said: "Humza Yousaf's sadly predictable and tired speech made it painfully clear the SNP have nothing to offer Scots. 

"The chaotic and distracted SNP government is failing to deliver for ordinary people, while its leader has retreated to the nationalist base.

"Scots can see clearly that the nationalists are the party of soaring drug deaths, dodgy campervans, and everyone knows their plans to turn off the taps in the North Sea will pull the plug on 100,000 jobs.

"When it comes to the General Election, in swathes of seats across Scotland, only a vote for Scottish Conservatives will stop the SNP."