HUMZA Yousaf has offered to work “constructively” with a Labour government to pursue progressive policies and “introduce measures for a fairer country”.

The First Minister and SNP leader launched the party’s General Election campaign at an event in Oran Mor, Glasgow, on Friday morning, and said any MPs elected would work with Keir Starmer's party to prevent any “backsliding on green investment” or privatisation of the NHS.

Yousaf took aim at Labour's repeated U-turns on a range of issues, stressing that the SNP would ensure Labour are held to account in government.

Polls suggest that Labour are posing a serious challenge to the SNP in Scotland at the upcoming ballot, with Starmer's party currently set to win a substantial number of seats from them.

Yousaf also told the audience that he hoped Rishi Sunak would be the last Tory prime minister “imposed” on Scotland, as he urged voters to back the SNP and oust all of Scotland’s seven current Tory MPs.

He insisted that Scotland needs SNP MPs in the House of Commons to “make sure we aren’t ignored” and Scottish issues are kept on the agenda.

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Yousaf told the audience of MPs, candidates and activists: “Keir Starmer doesn’t need Scotland to win the election, he does need Scotland and SNP MPs to keep him honest, but Scotland does need SNP MPs to make sure we aren’t ignored.

“So my offer to Keir Starmer is that where we can, we will of course work constructively with a Labour government to introduce measures for a fairer country.

“Let me give you some examples.

"We’ll do everything we can to prevent any further Labour backsliding on green investment.

“We’ll fight to protect the NHS from creeping privatisation at Westminster.

The National:

“We’ll work with Labour if they want to end the two-child cap, to lift children out of poverty.

“And if they’re open to it, we’ll share our experience of how to introduce a UK-wide equivalent of the Scottish Child Payment.”

The SNP leader added that while it's not his party’s job to write Labour’s manifesto - every party standing in the election should commit to introducing a child payment to tackle poverty levels.

He added: “This [Scottish Child Payment] has been transformational in our efforts to tackle the scourge of child poverty – and we stand ready to share our experiences with anyone else looking to introduce such a measure.

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“But friends, our ambitions for Scotland go higher than trying to protect Scotland from Westminster.

“Page one, line one of the SNP election manifesto will say this: ‘Vote SNP for Scotland to become an independent country’.

“Why? Because of that core belief that decisions about Scotland should be taken in Scotland, because Westminster doesn’t work for Scotland.”

Asked by The National if he believed the Labour party would take him up on his offer, the First Minister said: “Well, I would hope that they would take up the offer.

The National:

"We’ve not seen any evidence of that from Sir Keir Starmer. 

“Keir Starmer has said, well you can’t fight poverty, you can’t increase investment in the NHS, you can't abolish tuition fees, you can't do all these things simultaneously, actually, in Scotland we've shown you can.”

He added that the SNP would push Labour to abolish prescription charges, and tuition fees, introduce a child payment and expand childcare, among other issues. 

“We’re willing to work with a UK Labour government on this,” Yousaf said. 

Earlier, the First Minister called on party members to push for Tory-free Scotland during the election campaign and “resolve” that Sunak will be the last Tory PM imposed on Scotland.

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He argued that while a Labour government is likely incoming, they are always inevitably followed by Tory rule at Westminster. 

“History has shown us that the only certainty of a Labour government is that it will be followed by another Tory government,” Yousaf told the audience. 

“Scotland needs more than just a brief respite from the damage of Tory rule.

“Especially when that brief respite seems to offer so much of the same.”

The FM added that both the Labour and Tories are committed to a “Brexit-based economy no matter the cost to Scotland”. 

He added that the current cost of living crisis, Brexit and other issues showed that “independence has never been more urgent” and that the upcoming UK-wide ballot is an “important moment” for the Yes movement.