Anas Sarwar will use a speech today to claim that the SNP has “squandered” the opportunities of devolution.

The Scottish Labour leader will claim that his party is the only one "trying to pull Scotland together."

The SNP said Mr Sarwar was "indulging in yet more criticism from the sidelines."

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Despite the SNP's recent change of leader, the party is still behind Scottish Labour in the polls.

A Redfield and Wilton survey out on Friday  - carried out after John Swinney replaced Humza Yousaf - put Sir Keir Starmer’s party on 38% for the looming Westminster election, with the SNP down at 31%.

It is the biggest lead recorded for Scottish Labour over the SNP with any polling company since June 2014.

Professor Sir John Curtice said this could mean Mr Swinney's party losing 30 MPs, returning just 13, while Labour would gain 31, taking their total to 33.

That was despite Mr Swinney being much more popular with the public than Humza Yousaf - with an overall popularity rating of +7, compared to Mr Yousaf’s -35 when leaving office.

Labour has said that in his speech, Mr Sarwar will set out how a Scottish Labour government "would strengthen devolution for the future by returning to the values which shaped the Scottish Parliament. "

He is expected to say that the SNP government is too often "distracted by its narrow obsessions and internal divisions."


“We need a government that rises to today’s challenges, which are the biggest since the dawn of devolution," he will add. 

“Now, I don’t know if you watched First Minister’s Questions last week, but John Swinney claimed that ‘fresh leadership’ had arrived.

“I’m not sure I’ve ever heard the chamber erupt in laughter the way it did last Thursday.

“And you could tell from John’s face that not even he believed his spin. Perhaps that’s because he’s been around politics for so long. 

“He was, of course, there that day the parliament opened a quarter of a century ago, and I do recognise his long career of public service.

“But after so many years of SNP mismanagement, we can’t just have more of the same.

“Continuity will not cut it. Chaos and incompetence cannot be as good as it gets.

“You can’t unite our country by trying to divide it. Our country needs change.

“We need credible and effective leadership. Labour is the only party trying to pull Scotland together.

“And that is why we are ready for the next election so that we can ask the people of Scotland for the opportunity to change our country.”

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SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson said: “The new First Minister has made the clear offer to listen to all good ideas.


“Instead of grabbing that opportunity to actually do so, Mr Sarwar is indulging in yet more criticism from the sidelines.

“Over 100,000 children lifted out of poverty this year, the massive expansion in childcare, free university tuition fees, allowing record numbers of young people from deprived areas to go university, 126,000 affordable homes, upgrades to the M8, M73, M74 and the Queensferry Crossing delivered.

“All of these have been achieved, and more, by the SNP while the average Band D household pays £780 a year less in council tax than in England.

“We know Labour wants to reintroduce university tuition fees, but given this criticism from Mr Sarwar, the question he faces now is whether he wants to row back on all the other achievements too.”