Ross: We have a chance to stop the SNP's push for independence

Scots voters have a ‘once in a generation’ chance to beat the SNP and end its relentless demands for independence ‘for good’, the leader of the Scottish Tories will claim today.

Douglas Ross will launch his party’s General Election campaign in John Swinney’s ‘back yard’ of Perth, where he will bid to rally pro-Union voters.

He will also highlight the new SNP leader’s record of failure as Alex Salmond’s finance secretary, Nicola Sturgeon’s deputy and Humza Yousaf’s most prominent supporter – and condemn his ‘copy and paste approach’ to forming a Cabinet.

The Tories are targeting a dozen constituencies where they believe they can beat the SNP, including the new Perth and Kinross-shire seat, which is being contested by the longest-serving Nationalist MP, Pete Wishart.

Mr Wishart’s former Perth and North Perthshire seat has been renamed after its boundaries were redrawn.

ross: we have a chance to stop the snp's push for independence

Douglas Ross is fighting back

Mr Ross will claim that inflicting heavy losses on the SNP at the General Election will force ministers to focus on real priorities like the economy, the NHS and schools instead of the constitution.

He will also insist that Mr Swinney, who was campaigning in Dumfries yesterday, is ‘just as divisive a Nationalist as Nicola Sturgeon and just as beatable an opponent as Humza Yousaf’.

At an event in Perth, Mr Ross will say: ‘We’re here in John Swinney’s back yard to put him on notice that the Scottish Conservatives are coming for SNP seats like this one.

‘Like so many seats across Scotland, this one is a straight contest between the Scottish Conservatives and the SNP. In this election, the opportunity is there to finally end their independence demands for good.

‘For more than a decade, ever since that “once-in-a-generation” referendum, the SNP have focused only on independence at the expense of everything else. Voters have a once-in-a-generation chance to beat the SNP by voting Scottish Conservative in key seats up and down the country.’

He will insist that by beating the SNP voters can ‘get all of the focus over the next five years onto creating good jobs, reducing NHS waiting lists and investing to improve our public services’. Mr Ross will tell activists: ‘Scotland has had enough of the SNP’s non-stop demands for independence and the way they overlook the issues that really matter.

‘Let’s get out there and fight for the neglected patients, pupils, parents, workers who have been let down by the SNP.

‘Let’s get out there and win in key seats right across Scotland.

‘Let’s get out there and beat the SNP.’

The 12 seats being targeted by the Scottish Tories include the six its MPs won in 2019.

Former MP Luke Graham is standing against Mr Wishart in Perth and Kinross-shire.

Other key targets include the new Angus and Perthshire Glens constituency, where Nationalist MP Dave Doogan is seeking election; Brendan O’Hara’s new Argyll, Bute and South Lochaber constituency; Allan Dorans’ seat in Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock; Kirsten Oswald’s in East Renfrewshire; and the new Gordon and Buchan constituency which is being contested by Richard Thomson.

Turning his focus to Mr Swinney at today’s event in Perth, Mr Ross will dismiss his claims that he offers a fresh start for the SNP and a new way of doing politics. He will say: ‘John Swinney is just another nationalist leader from the SNP, at a time when Scotland needs national leadership.

‘And what did we expect? He was Alex Salmond’s finance secretary, Nicola Sturgeon’s deputy and Humza Yousaf’s most prominent supporter.

‘He is the supposedly safe pair of hands who as economy secretary signed off on the Ferguson ferries, who as education secretary tried to introduce the named persons scheme and presided over Scotland’s schools falling down international league tables. And as Covid secretary he wasted taxpayer money on the botched vaccine passport scheme.

‘How could we hope for him to change course when John Swinney has been at the heart of the nationalist cabal that has run Scotland for the last 17 years, when they were warned that “continuity won’t cut it.’

He condemned the party for choosing ‘the only man who is even more of a continuity candidate than Humza Yousaf’ as its new leader.

Mr Ross said: ‘John Swinney just represents more of the same. He was so unimaginative, that he decided to reappoint the bastion for competency that is Humza Yousaf’s cabinet. Talk about a copy and paste approach.’

Nationalist MP Amy Callaghan, who is campaigning in Mid Dunbartonshire, said: ‘Only a vote for the SNP – the main challenger in every Tory seat in Scotland – can bring down this Tory government that doesn’t have Scotland’s interests at heart.’

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