DOUGLAS Ross has said he wants to “deliver a fatal blow” as he said the election was a chance to make Scotland “free of the SNP”.

The Scottish Tory leader made the pitch during a speech in Perth as he turned a slogan by former first minister Humza Yousaf around on the SNP and insisted that the “Scottish people have changed”.

He said: “I have knocked on doors in every part of our country and the message that I am getting, even from some independence supporters, is that they are just fed up with this SNP Government.”

Ross pointed to frustration with potholes, NHS waiting lists, increased taxes and problems with public services and said the country had “reached the tipping point”.

The National: John Swinney

The Scottish Tory chief, who is standing down as an MP at this election, hit out at SNP leader John Swinney (above), whose constituency Ross was campaigning in, for pledging that independence would be on “page one, line one” of the party’s manifesto.

'End independence demands for good' 

Ross said: "We can only take Scotland forward if we beat the SNP. By beating the SNP, we can get all of the focus over the next five years onto creating good jobs, reducing NHS waiting lists and investing to improve our public services.

“And that is why the election in Scotland is different and why it really matters. Because we have allowed a nationalist minority to hold back our country for far too long.

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“In this election, the opportunity is there to finally end their independence demands for good. For more than a decade, ever since that ‘once-in-a-generation’ referendum, the SNP have focused only on independence at the expense of everything else.

“Well now voters have a once-in-a-generation chance to beat the SNP by voting Scottish Conservative in key seats up and down the country. Let’s seize this once-in-a-generation chance to deliver a fatal blow to the SNP.”

He said the vote was a chance to “kick out their candidates in every part of Scotland” and called on supporters to “bring the curtain down on the SNP’s domination of Scottish politics”.

'Tory free' backlash 

Ross, who will stay on as a Highlands and Islands MSP, previously criticised Yousaf (below) for calling for Scotland to be “Tory free”.

The National: Humza Yousaf

Speaking this March, he described the former SNP leader’s language as “divisive” and “insulting”.

Ross added: “Now is the time to give them an election nightmare that is long overdue. With all the scandal and sleaze weighing them down, they have never looked weaker. But while they may be down, they are not yet out. If you want to bring an end to the SNP’s Scotland, then you need to vote.”

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He also pleaded for Tory voters to get out and cast their ballots on election day – with the party fearing low turnout among their supporters.

Ross said: “We know that on polling day that the SNP will be able to turn out their supporters, they have managed it in election after election.

“If you stay at home, then you risk letting them win by the slimmest of margins and using that win as a mandate to campaign for independence. If you want the SNP out, then you need to vote the SNP out.”