Stage two of Labour's plan for change will be replacing the SNP as the Scottish Government, Anas Sarwar has said.

The Scottish Labour leader was speaking to journalists in Clarkston on Saturday, as he met with the new MP for East Renfrewshire, Blair MacDougall. 

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Asked if Sir Keir Starmer would work with John Swinney, Mr Sarwar said: “We’ve seen for far too long conflict over co-operation and ultimately it is the people of Scotland that have missed out.

“We will always act in the national interest, we will always work together, where we can, to deliver for the Scottish people.

“But let’s be really clear – we’re not talking about a (Scottish) Government that is new in Scotland. This is an SNP Government that has been in charge for 17 years.

“Yes we’ll work together in the national interest to deliver for the people of Scotland but I have always been clear that this is just stage one of the change, stage two comes in 2026.”

Mr Sarwar said his ambition was to be First Minister. He told PA: “I am not in this to be an opposition politician.”

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He told them: “What we achieved on Thursday night was simply historic. We now have a duty to go out there to all of the people that supported us, and indeed those who thought about supporting us but ultimately didn’t, and say thank you for putting your trust in Scottish Labour and we do not take that trust lightly.

“We will get to work straight away to make sure a UK Labour Government is working for Scotland, and we also get to work straight away to redouble our efforts to advocate what the change will be in 2026, because yes I want Scottish Labour to play its full part in delivering a UK Labour Government, not to be a drag in the ticket, but to be a gateway to that Government.

“But I also will not stop until we actually in 2026 elect a Scottish Labour government.”