HUMZA Yousaf has urged members to send a message to Scottish Tory MPs that “time is up” for the Conservatives and SNP “is coming for them”.

The First Minister also called Anas Sarwar “Labour’s branch manager” as he said the Scottish Labour leader would “bend the knee to Keir Starmer” despite Starmer’s repeated claim he would “stand up for Scotland”.

At the first gathering of its kind in six years, after National Council was abolished in 2018 and reinstated in 2021, Yousaf told delegates in Perth "only the SNP will put Scotland first".

He said: "Most seats across Scotland are a straight fight between the SNP and the Tories. Let us resolve, here and now, to win each and every one of those Tory seats. From the Highlands to the Borders, let’s rid this country of Tory MPs once and for all.

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"Whether it’s in May, or November, or any month in between – let the message from our party be heard loud and clear by every Tory MP in Scotland. Your time is up and the SNP is coming for you."

Yousaf opened the speech by paying tribute to activist Gerry Fisher who passed away earlier in the day. He said Fisher was “SNP through and through” and called on delegates to complete his work done in delivering an independent country.

He later urged delegates to stand in solidarity with MP Diane Abbott, who currently sits as an independent MP, spoke out about racism in politics, a day after being denied a chance to take part in a Commons debate about a Tory donor’s criticism of her.

Delegates applauded the call and stood, with Yousaf then stating: “Those are our morals and It doesn’t matter if you’re in a different political party, with different pollical value, we always in this party , and in this room literally stand up for what is right.”

The National: Humza Yousaf and his wife Nadia El-Nakla greet SNP members at Perth Concert Hall Humza Yousaf and his wife Nadia El-Nakla greet SNP members at Perth Concert Hall (Image: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Yousaf also highlighted the recent report from the British Medical Journal which found clear differences in immunisation, breast-feeding and A&E visits between children in Scotland and in England.

He said: "Stark are the differences, that they are urging England to follow Scotland’s lead.

"That SNP investment is benefitting Scotland’s children today – and is building a healthier Scotland for tomorrow. Friends, giving our babies, our children the best start in life is what a positive, ambitious SNP government can do."

Afterwards, John Nicolson hosted a Q&A with Stephen Flynn in a session called “campaign update”.

Questions ranged from the next steps now that Labour has backed calls for an immediate ceasefire to the UK Budget concerns for further austerity.

“The time is not tomorrow, it is now”

One young activist also asked the Westminster leader how the party could encourage more young people to not just campaign on social media, but also “get out on the doors”.

Flynn credited former transport minister Kevin Stewart with encouraging him to campaign when he first joined the party, and said it was the responsibility of representatives to ensure they encourage young members to both campaign and take up leadership roles in the party.