Scotland’s First Minister has insisted he can lead the SNP to victory in an “independence day” General Election.

John Swinney said the election, now confirmed to take place on July 4, also gave voters the chance to get rid of Rishi Sunak and his “disastrous” Conservative Government.

The SNP leader declared: “Never has a government deserved to lose more than Rishi Sunak’s Government.”

Glasgow Times:

Launching the SNP election campaign at an event in Edinburgh, he urged voters north of the border: “On July 4 – Independence Day – make sure your voice is heard.”

Despite only taking over as SNP leader and Scottish First Minister just over two weeks ago, Mr Swinney insisted he was “up for the cut and thrust of the election campaign”.

Mr Swinney had stepped back from frontline politics last year when he called time on his eight year spell as deputy first minister, but when Humza Yousaf quit suddenly last month, he put himself forward to be both SNP leader and Scottish First Minister.

“I’ve only been back in frontline politics for a month,” he said.

“I couldn’t have imagined even two months ago standing here launching the SNP campaign for the 2024 General Election.

“But I am here because I knew I could unify my party. I am two weeks in and I have done that already.”

He insisted he was “relishing the opportunity” to campaign across Scotland as he promised an “energetic, optimistic” campaign from the SNP.

However he used his campaign launch to hit out at the “disastrous Tory Government” in power in Westminster.

With Mr Sunak having announced the election date on Wednesday outside Downing Street in the rain, Mr Swinney insisted the Tories were “so chaotic they don’t even know when it’s raining outside”.

He called on voters in Scotland to back his party to “unite to bring about that better country that we all want to see”.

Mr Swinney added: “That starts by seeing the back of Rishi Sunak and his Government.

“The challenger for every Tory seat in Scotland is the Scottish National Party. So by voting SNP you can get rid of this Tory Government.”

And while he said the six weeks of election campaigning would see Labour and the Tories “going hammer and tongs to discredit each other” in the race for Downing Street, he said he would be “going hammer and tongs to put Scotland first”.

He added: “I will never take anything for granted, but I have no doubt the SNP can win this election.

“And that is what I intend to do, to lead the SNP to victory in this election.”