THE SNP are preparing for battle as the next election approaches – with bullish MPs insistent they can see off Labour in Scotland. 

Most of the party’s MPs attended an “away day” event in the Broadway House conference centre, a short walk from the Westminster parliament – and are understood to be getting personalised battle plans to fight the upcoming election.

One MP said it was the first official strategy meeting Stephen Flynn had held since taking over as leader of the Westminster group in December, other than another held shortly after the leadership contest as a way of reconvening the group after he replaced Ian Blackford.

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It was described as a chance to “get off the treadmill” and was said to focus more on the party’s general strategy, away from the day-to-day pressures of responding to the Westminster political agenda.

The party are said to be devising localised election campaign plans – reasoning that MPs representing areas where the main challenge is from the Conservatives will need to fight different campaigns than those whose main challenge comes from Labour.

Parliamentary staff who work for MPs are also getting emails from the House of Commons authorities preparing them for the practical considerations of the upcoming election.

The emails are said to include details on whether staff will be able to access the building once parliament is dissolved ahead of an election and there are technically no MPs.

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The SNP are officially optimistic about the upcoming election, which is a view some MPs say they hold as well.

One told The National it was not a foregone conclusion Labour will win the next election and another said Keir Starmer was still failing to answer key questions the electorate will be asking, including on Brexit.

Though another said Starmer’s “constructive ambiguity” mirrored that of Tony Blair’s winning platform in 1997 – pointing out the party won a historic landslide victory on a remarkably thin manifesto and a slick comms operation.