Yousaf celebrates 90 years of SNP with ‘confident’ election message

The SNP was founded on April 7 1934.

SNP leader and First Minister Humza Yousaf reflected on his party’s 90th birthday
SNP leader and First Minister Humza Yousaf reflected on his party’s 90th birthday (Robert Perry/PA)

Humza Yousaf has said he is “very confident” in his general election candidates as the SNP celebrates its 90th birthday.

The SNP leader and Scotland’s First Minister campaigned in Prestwick, Hamilton and East Kilbride on Saturday to mark the milestone.

The party was founded on April 7 1934 and has had many highs and lows throughout the 90-year period.

Mr Yousaf, who shares a birthday with his party, said the SNP had “consistently exceeded expectations” but warned the political landscape showed Scotland needed independence “now more than ever”.

While on the campaign trail, which saw him learn the Gaelic language and teach basic Urdu and Arabic to the 65 Club in Prestwick, a social hub for over-55s, Mr Yousaf told the PA news agency: “I’m very confident, we have got a great selection of candidates.

“I think we’re one of the only parties that have (all) candidates selected.

“We saw, of course, that Labour don’t have candidates selected in most Conservative seats, which shows they’re not up for taking the fight to the Conservatives. The SNP absolutely are.”

He said: “Anniversaries like this are a chance to reflect on just how far our party has come.

“From the early days, when people tried to tell us that a Scottish Parliament, never mind independence, was out of reach, to the more recent times.

“As a party, we have consistently exceeded expectations, broken new ground, worked hard and built trust.”

But Mr Yousaf added: “We know we are working with one hand tied behind our back because of Westminster governments that will never represent Scotland’s needs and interests.

“Scotland needs independence now more than ever as the Tories and Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party have both hitched their wagon to a broken Brexit Britain, with a joint commitment to austerity and spending cuts.

“As we mark the SNP’s 90th anniversary and reflect on changes for the better, one thing has never changed – our unwavering mission to regain Scotland’s independence and create a better future for everyone that lives here.”

Jackie Baillie, deputy leader of Scottish Labour, commented on the First Minister’s visit.

She said: “Scottish Labour will take the fight to both the Tories and the SNP in every constituency at this election.

“The choice at the next election is clear – more failure and decline with the SNP and Tories or change with Scottish Labour”.

Scottish Conservative deputy leader Meghan Gallacher said: “Humza Yousaf is correct in saying Labour are not up to fighting the Conservatives, unfortunately for him though, neither are the SNP.

“It is abundantly clear that in swathes of seats across Scotland this general election is a straight fight between the Scottish Conservatives and the SNP.

“Voters are sick of the SNP’s relentless pursuit of independence, their string of failures and record of driving division.

“In constituencies up and down the country, only by voting for the Scottish Conservatives can you stop the SNP and get the focus onto Scotland’s real priorities.”