Humza Yousaf admits 'challenging' time for SNP
The SNP’s Westminster leader has been accused of “desperation” after he issued a plea to Labour and Lib Dem voters in Scotland to back his party. Stephen Flynn insisted tactical voting is the “only way” to block the Tories at the next general election.
But Scottish Conservative MSP Stephen Kerr said Mr Flynn’s plea “smacks of desperation”.
Mr Kerr said: “But it’s also telling – the SNP are realising that the likeliness of a Conservative Government being re-elected is rising – and they’re planning accordingly.”
Scottish Tory chairman Craig Hoy added: “The SNP have cottoned on to what Scotland’s voters already know – that the Scottish Conservatives are the only credible threat to the nationalists in a large number of seats up and down Scotland.
“Only we can keep them out in numerous Westminster constituencies – not Labour or the Lib Dems.
“The SNP recognise that fact and are fearful of it. That’s why they’ve made this desperate plea to pro-Union voters.
“But it won’t work because those voters are sick and tired of the SNP ignoring the public’s real priorities – like the cost-of-living crisis and unacceptable NHS waiting times – to relentlessly push their independence obsession.”
Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie also branded Mr Flynn’s comments a “desperate ploy”.
Mr Flynn insisted the SNP can “lock the Tories out of Scotland” if Labour and Lib Dem voters lend their vote at the next general election.
The SNP’s Westminster leader told The National: “Voting SNP is the only way to beat the Tories in Scotland at the next election – and a strong team of SNP MPs can ensure Scotland holds the balance of power at Westminster.
“The SNP is the main competitor in every Tory-held seat, and the incumbent in every target seat – so a vote for the Labour Party or the Liberal Democrats is a wasted vote that risks letting the Tories in the back door, just like it did last time.
“In 2019, the SNP halved the number of Tory seats in Scotland – and at this election we can finish the job but only if enough Labour and Liberal Democrat supporters lend the SNP their votes.
“By voting SNP, we can lock the Tories out of Scotland at this election – and rid ourselves of Westminster Tory governments for good with independence.”
Mr Flynn’s comments come as the SNP has been engulfed in chaos since the resignation of Nicola Sturgeon.
The party was battered by a vicious leadership contest which Humza Yousaf narrowly won and has been at the centre of controversy over a police probe into its finances.
The Police Scotland investigation centres on how more than £600,000 in donations to the party earmarked for an independence referendum has been used.
The SNP’s former chief executive Peter Murrell, who is married to Nicola Sturgeon, and then treasurer Colin Beattie have both been arrested before being released without charge pending further investigation.
Both Labour and the Tories are hoping to capitalise on the difficult period for the nationalist party.
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