SCOTTISH Tory leader Douglas Ross has urged Unionists to vote tactically for his party after the next General Election was set for July.

Speaking from a drenched Downing Street, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak officially confirmed the next Westminster election will be held in just 43 days – on July 4.

The polls have predicted that the Tories are likely to be turfed out of power after 14 years, with a Labour government under Keir Starmer expected to take their place.

The Conservatives look likely to retain at least a handful of their seats in Scotland at the election, and are facing a straight fight with the SNP in more rural areas.

READ MORE: What the polls say in Scotland as UK General Election announced for July 4

In one example, the new Angus and Perthshire Glens constituency is expected to be a tight race between the Tories and SNP.

Labour have fielded what many have seen as a paper candidate: Elizabeth Carr-Ellis, who is a councillor hundreds of miles away in Canterbury.

In a plea to voters after Sunak’s General Election announcement, Scots Tory leader Ross asked Unionists to tactically back his party.

Ross (below) said: “The Scottish Conservatives are ready to take the fight to the SNP and beat the nationalists in crucial seats up and down Scotland.

“This election in Scotland is a huge opportunity to defeat the SNP and put an end to their obsession with independence for good.

The National: Douglas Ross pictured in the Scottish Parliament

“If voters unite in the many seats where it’s a straight fight between the Scottish Conservatives and the SNP, we can get rid of nationalist MPs who have never focused on the things that really matter.

“In key seats up and down Scotland, only the Scottish Conservatives can beat the SNP and get all of the attention on to voters' top priorities, such as creating good jobs, reducing NHS waiting lists and investing in schools.”

Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater MSP called on “everyone to make sure they are registered, to have their now obligatory ID ready and to be free to vote like our future depends on it – because it does”.

She went on: “Every single vote will count, and never more so to ensure a liveable future for our planet and our children.

“The Tories spent more than a decade undermining democracy, subsidising climate wrecking industries and eroding human rights in the hope of clinging on to power.

“This is the moment that changes, now we use the ballot box to defend our environment, our human rights, and our democracy.”

READ MORE: July General Election to happen in Scottish school holidays – see full list of dates

Elsewhere, trade unions have welcomed the news of a General Election, with STUC general secretary Roz Foyer saying simply: “Good. And not a moment too soon.”

Gary Smith, GMB general secretary, said: “After 14 years of chaos and failure, it’s time for change.

“The working people of our country deserve better.”

And TUC general secretary Paul Nowak said it was a vital election for working families.

“After 14 long years of stagnant living standards, run-down public services and soaring poverty, the country desperately needs change – and a plan to repair and rebuild Britain.”