Tories are finished at next general election, says Yousaf

Tories are finished at next general election, says Yousaf

The Tories are “finished” at the next general election, Humza Yousaf has said.

The First Minister was addressing the STUC Congress in Dundee on Tuesday, where he addressed the upcoming general election, which he described as the “big political event on the Horizon” and is due to take place this year.

Mr Yousaf’s party launched its campaign at the beginning of this year aiming to make the country “Tory free” after polling day.

He told the unions: “I don’t think in any way, shape or form I’m going out on a limb here when I say I think and I hope that this Tory Government is finished,” he said.

Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak’s Government is ‘finished’ the First Minister said (Benjamin Cremel/PA)

“I’m certain that I’m not offending anybody in this room when I say that I cannot wait to see the back of them – good riddance to the Conservatives, who have heaped such misery on households right across this country.”

Mr Yousaf said that “virtually everything” the UK Government has done since the Tories took office in 2010 “has made life harder for ordinary families, for working people, for minority groups up and down this country”.

He also took aim at Labour, as he pitched the next election as a “choice of values” for Scots – a shift away from targeting the Tories.

“Every single politician standing for election in the upcoming general election should be judged on their values,” he said.

“Sir Keir Starmer’s values will see him lift the cap on banker’s bonuses, but not lift the two-child benefit cap, that are, in my estimation, the wrong values and the wrong priorities.

“In this election, Scotland has the choice of values and I will be calling on people to vote for what they believe in, vote for a progressive future vote for the Scotland I think we all want to see.”

But Scottish Tory chairman Craig Hoy said the First Minister was attempting to “deflect attention from his own Government’s failures”.

“Almost everything run by the SNP – from Scotland’s NHS, schools, policing to essential services – has become worse under their policies,” he added.

“And Scots are paying more for the privilege. While the Conservative government has delivered a national insurance tax cut for every worker, Humza Yousaf’s party has made Scotland the highest-taxed part of the UK.”

The comments come just hours after the First Minister spoke of the potential danger of splitting the pro-independence vote at the next election, including voting for his coalition partners.

The Scottish Greens have said they will field at least 32 candidates north of the border at the general election – their highest number ever.

But some have worried their presence on the ballot paper could have an effect on the pro-independence vote.

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland on Monday, Humza Yousaf said his coalition partners – whom he has repeatedly praised, referring to the deal between the two as “worth its weight in gold” – were unlikely to win a seat in Scotland but could detract from their shared goal of separation.

“If you believe in independence, you want to advance the cause of independence, then I would urge people to vote for the SNP,” he said.

“To be clear, though we are in Government with the Greens we are – to state the obvious – different political parties that will often compete in a number of different elections.

“Therefore, yes, I think there’s a real danger for those that believe in independence, believe in progressive values that if you vote for the Greens, that could end up taking votes away from the SNP.

“And with the greatest of respect to my Green colleagues, they’re not going to win a Westminster seat in Scotland.”

Mr Yousaf added that the election presented Scotland with a “number of opportunities”, including advancing the independence cause, voting out Tory MPs and ensuring “Scotland’s voice is heard by Westminster”, which he said could only be done by voting for the SNP rather than “splitting that vote” by voting for another pro-independence party.

A spokesman for the Scottish Greens said: “Every vote for the Scottish Greens is a vote for a fairer, greener and independent Scotland with climate justice at its heart. We are proud of our transformative vision and want as many people as possible to have the opportunity to vote for it.

“The Tories and Labour have both been utterly complicit in the bombing of Gaza and a lot of people will rightly feel unable to vote for either party.

“All over Scotland more and more people are demanding the kind of bold climate action that Keir Starmer has refused to commit to and an end to 14 years of punishing Tory cuts.”

Scottish Labour deputy leader, Dame Jackie Baillie, said: “Humza Yousaf is in no position to lecture anyone as he hikes taxes for working people, defends the profits of oil and gas giants, and slashes funding for fair work programmes.

“The SNP has resorted to desperate attacks on Labour. Under the SNP, almost one in six Scots is on an NHS waiting list, one in four children is living in poverty and our economy is flatlining.

“The general election is a choice between five more years of misery under the Tories or a fresh start with Labour. The next Labour government will put our values into action by boosting wages, cutting bills, delivering climate leadership, renewing public services and strengthening our economy.”