The First Minister will lead a “day of action” for the SNP as the first weekend of General Election campaigning begins.

John Swinney will be travelling around Scotland as he and other party leaders make their case.

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He is expected to discuss the SNP’s end to tuition fees, the doubling of NHS funding, the Scottish Child Payment, free bus travel for young, and disabled and elderly people, and baby boxes.

Glasgow Times: John Swinney speaks to the media at the Scottish Parliament

Ahead of the national day of action, Mr Swinney said: “I am proud to stand on the SNP’s record in government and to contrast it with the record of the Westminster parties.

“We have managed to achieve so much in the face of 14 years of Westminster austerity because we are the only party that will always put Scotland first – and which is focused on people’s priorities.

“But just imagine how much more we could achieve if all decisions about Scotland were made in Scotland, rather than by Westminster parties for whom Scotland will always be an afterthought and who are both doubling down on austerity and cuts.

“This General Election is the opportunity to put Scotland first and unite behind an alternative to austerity and the SNP’s message of hope – protecting the NHS, tackling the cost-of-living crisis and eradicating child poverty.”

Meanwhile, Anas Sarwar will visit Wishaw in North Lanarkshire following the official launch of Scottish Labour’s campaign on Friday.

Mr Sarwar said: “This chaotic and dysfunctional Tory Government has let down Scots and put their own party interest ahead of the national interest – but the same is true of the SNP.

“This is a pivotal moment for Scotland and a chance to reject the division and decline of both the Tories and the SNP.

“The next six weeks will decide Scotland’s future and I know what path I want us to take.

“This election is an opportunity for change that we cannot afford to miss.”

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross was joined by Stephen Kerr, the party’s candidate for Angus and Perthshire Glens, as he visited a railway station in Brechin.

Mr Ross said: “Our campaign to beat the SNP and end their obsession with independence is going full steam ahead.

“John Swinney’s shameless defence of Michael Matheson is turning more and more local people away from the SNP.

“We’re asking voters to come together and take the opportunity to remove the SNP from every seat possible. We have a big chance in this election, but we need to seize it.”

Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said it is time to “tear down the acid yellow wall of the SNP” as he campaigned in Mid Dunbartonshire, which he claimed would be the tightest-fought seat in Scotland.