SCOTTISH Labour leader Anas Sarwar will target pro-independence voters as he kicks off his election campaign in a speech on Monday.

With Rishi Sunak having indicated a General Election could take place in the second half of this year, Sarwar will make a pitch in an attempt to grow support for his party north of the Border.

The MSP will deliver his speech in Rutherglen – where Labour recently defeated the SNP in a by-election which resulted in Michael Shanks (below) becoming the party’s second MP in Scotland.

The National: Labour celebrated what Sir Keir Starmer hailed as a ‘sesimic’ win in in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West byelection, with Michael Shanks (left) elected as the new MP for the area. (Jane Barlow/PA)

Sarwar will say people across the country are “hungry for change” as he urges voters to give his party “the opportunity to show you that we can make the UK work for every corner of our country”.

READ MORE: Starmer has no appetite for change – independence is the only way​

He is expected to say: “Let me say to those that may have supported independence in the past, and may even consider it in the future.

“I don’t support independence, and I don’t support a referendum, but I accept that we need a change right now.

“We may ultimately disagree on the final destination for Scotland, but on this part of the journey, let’s unite to change our country and get rid of this Tory government.

“Give us the opportunity to show you that we can make the UK work for every corner of our country, including here in Scotland.

“The chance to show you that change is possible, and that this isn’t as good as it gets.”

The Scottish Labour leader will describe 2024 as a “momentous year” and add: “It can be the year of change, our opportunity for change after 13 years of failure under the Tories.

READ MORE: Unionist call for General Election to be used to ‘end devolution’

“But after 16 years of decline and incompetence, it is a chance to turn the page on the SNP too. I know people across our country are hungry for change.”

Ahead of the speech, Scottish Tory chair Craig Hoy said that Labour have always “slavishly voted with Humza Yousaf’s government” in Holyrood.

The Conservative MSP said: “Anas Sarwar has come alarmingly late to the obvious truth that the SNP’s time in government has been incredibly damaging.

“That is because, on policies ranging from gender recognition reform to their disastrous financial policies, Labour has slavishly voted with Humza Yousaf’s government."