ANAS Sarwar claimed the SNP had “launched a campaign for another Tory government” during a fiery exchange with Humza Yousaf at FMQs.

The Scottish Labour leader told the chamber that the SNP and Tories are “two sides of the same coin” over jeers from the SNP benches.

Sarwar claimed that the First Minister was content for there to be a Tory government in Westminster as a “cover for his own incompetence”.

Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone repeatedly had to intervene during the exchange between the FM and Sarwar due to shouting and jeering from MSPs.

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It comes as the FM said that a ban on disposable vapes was not off the table and that he was willing to “compromise” on the National Care Service (NCS).

In his opening question, Sarwar said: “It’s just been announced that interest rates will go up again, meaning higher mortgages, all because of Tory economic chaos.

“This in the same week that the SNP launched its campaign for another Tory government.

“Can I ask the First Minister to put aside his party’s self-interest and be honest – what is better for Scotland, a Labour government or a Tory government?"

The FM fired back that the best thing for Scotland “is independence”, to rapturous applause from the SNP benches.

The rowdy exchange came after England’s local elections, which saw the Tories' vote collapse and the party lose more than 1000 council seats, with Labour and the SNP pitching to voters ahead of the next General Election.

It led to Labour “hilariously” calling on the Tories to rule out a power sharing deal with the SNP, despite the SNP already ruling it out, and much discussion over the possibility of a hung parliament.

The SNP have repeatedly said that another independence referendum, and a Labour government devolving the powers over referendums, would be at the top of their demand list for any such deal.

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With Labour repeatedly ruling out any form of coalition with the SNP, the issue came to a head at FMQs, as Yousaf and Sarwar clashed.

Both Yousaf and SNP Westminster group leader Stephen Flynn have suggested that may change after the election.

During his exchange with the Scottish Labour leader, Yousaf said: “It’s exceptionally brave for Anas Sarwar to go on this topic in this week of all weeks, because what we have in Keir Starmer’s Labour Party is someone who has refused to reverse every single measure of Tory austerity.

The National: The SNP front bench reacts to Sarwar's questioning during FMQsThe SNP front bench reacts to Sarwar's questioning during FMQs (Image: PA)

“What we have with Keir Starmer is of course an individual who has reneged on his promise to abolish tuition fees for students in England.

“What we have with Keir Starmer, just yesterday, is an individual who refused to repeal cruel Tory legislation such as the Illegal Migration Bill.

“Scotland doesn’t need cruel, harmful policies imposed on it, whether it’s by a politician that wears a blue tie or a politician that wears a red tie, what Scotland needs is the full powers of an independent nation to chart our own course and get out of this unequal and broken union.”

Sarwar went on to accuse the FM of being “so out of touch” with Scotland, claiming a UK Labour government would scrap  anti trade union legislation, create a publicly owned energy company and make the UK an “R&D (research and development) powerhouse”.

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He went on to ask the FM if he would prefer a Tory government at Westminster “because it’s cover for his own incompetence”.

Yousaf replied: “We’re not interested in just getting rid of the Tories for a little while, we want rid of the Tories forever.

“The way we do that is of course by voting for independence.”

The First Minister went on to accuse the Labour Party of a lurch to the right, describing it as a “Conservative tribute act” and claiming Starmer had “done a Nick Clegg” by indicating he would not make university tuition free.

He added: “We are prepared to work with any political party in order to keep the Tories out of Number 10, why is Keir Starmer refusing to work with the Scottish National Party in order to keep the Tories out of Number 10?”

Responding, Sarwar claimed the First Minister is more interested in attacking Labour than “getting rid of a Tory government”, prompting loud jeers from the SNP benches and another intervention from the Presiding Officer.

Elsewhere, the FM said a complete ban on disposable vapes was not off the table, and that a Scottish Government expert group is currently considering putting a stop to the smoking alternative.

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In response to a question from Scottish Greens MSP Gillian Mackay, who asked whether ministers are considering a ban on health and environmental grounds, he said: “We will give that consideration.

“Littering, of course, of any kind is unacceptable. I share the member’s concerns about the environmental impacts of single-use vapes, not to mention the increased use among children and young people who should not have access to them in the first place.

“I should make it quite clear that the use of these products is an issue we’re taking very seriously and nothing is off the table at this stage.”

The FM added that 15 local authorities have already backed a ban, including Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The National: Mackay raised a potential ban on disposable vapesMackay raised a potential ban on disposable vapes

On the NCS, which has come under criticism for costing £14 million spent on the policy so far, Yousaf said he was “absolutely committed” to the social care reforms.

We told how the FM defended the costs at an energy summit, and rejected calls to “reallocate” cash from the policy to avert looming junior doctor strikes.

At FMQs, Yousaf promised to engage “intensively” with local authorities and unions to “hopefully find a level of compromise”.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross branded the move to a National Care Service a “white elephant”, telling MSPs: “This is all starting to look like another Humza Yousaf disaster.”

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Ross said that as the first Holyrood vote on the proposed changes to the social care system have been delayed until after summer, the proposals should be scrapped.

The Scottish Tory leader also condemned the £1.9 million the Scottish Government spent on consultancy fees for the proposed new service in 2022-23, accusing ministers of “paying consultants a fortune”.

Yousaf insisted his Government is “absolutely committed to our plans for a national care service”, saying it will “ensure fair work is at the very heart of any future care service”.

On consultancy costs, he said it is important for the Scottish Government to bring in people with the “additional, technical, specialist expertise” that would help “ensure we make progress on the legislation itself”.

He said the delay to the legislation setting up the new system will allow ministers to speak to both local government and trade unions.