HUMZA Yousaf is set to urge Scots to back the SNP to create a “Tory-free Scotland” as he launches the party’s General Election campaign.

The First Minister will make the call at a launch event on Friday morning, where he will call on voters to back the SNP to ensure Scotland’s voice is heard at Westminster.

There are currently seven Tory MPs in Scotland - after East Kilbride MP Lisa Cameron defected to the Tories.

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The SNP are confident they can win Douglas Ross’s current seat in Moray, with the Scottish Tory leader standing down, as well as targeting other seats in the North East and Scottish Borders currently held by Conservatives.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack is also set to stand down at the election, with Tory candidate John Cooper running to replace him in Dumfries and Galloway.

The SNP leader will be joined by politicians, candidates, and activists at the launch event, with the General Election not expected to be held until the “second half” of this year after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said it was his “working assumption” for a UK-wide ballot.

Yousaf (below) will use the event to declare the looming Westminster election is a chance to kick the Tories out of Scotland “completely”.

The National:

The First Minister said the party would be aiming to win all six seats held by the Tories, excluding Cameron’s East Kilbride seat, which was won under an SNP ticket with a majority of over 13,000.

Yousaf is expected to say: “Today I want to tell you how, together, we can get the best outcome for the country.

“The first step we take towards a brighter future must be to kick the Tories out.

“Let’s be absolutely clear here: Rishi Sunak is finished. The Tories are done – thank goodness.

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“The damage they have caused to Scotland is unforgivable and this year we must take the opportunity to kick them out of Scotland completely.”

The First Minister will add that the SNP is “by far” the best-placed party to remove the Tories from Scotland because in each of the seats up for grabs, the party is in second place.

“Today I am setting an ambition for the SNP to wipe the Tories from Scotland’s electoral map by winning all six of those Tory seats,” Yousaf is set to say.

“That is a big ask, but I don’t believe you go into elections unless you are willing to be ambitious.

The National:

“It’s also the case that in more than half of the SNP-held seats, it is the Tories who are in second place.

“So, to people right across the country, our message will be very clear: vote SNP for a Tory-free Scotland.”

With the incoming boundary changes set to apply to the next Westminster ballot, there are now 57 seats to be contested in Scotland, rather than 59.

Douglas Ross’s current seat of Moray will see some changes to the area it covers, being renamed Moray West, Nairn, and Strathspey, and taking in eastern areas of Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch, and Strathspey constituency which has been held by the SNP since 2015.

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The Scottish Tory leader only won his seat with a majority of 500 votes over the SNP in 2019.

Elsewhere, the SNP will be looking to the North East where current Tory MPs Andrew Bowie, West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, and David Duguid, who currently holds Banff and Buchan but will be contesting Aberdeenshire North and Moray East, are standing.

There are also three Scottish Tory MPs in the borders including Jack’s (below) current seat in Dumfries and Galloway, John Lamont in Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, and David Mundell in Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale.

The National: Alister Jack

The SNP will also be battling to retain several seats from Scottish Labour, with polls showing a boost in support for the Unionist party in recent months in the central belt and other parts of the country.

Some surveys have put the parties neck and neck, while others have put the SNP in the lead.

The First Minister's independence strategy hinges on the party winning the majority of seats at the General Election, to trigger negotiations with Westminster, vowing to put that a vote for the SNP is a “vote for Scottish independence” on the first line of the party’s manifesto.