Scotland is being failed by “two bad governments”, Anas Sarwar will say, as he declares his party “election ready”.
Speaking ahead of a speech in Glasgow’s Pollok constituency – where Humza Yousaf is MSP – the Scottish Labour leader said both the UK and Scottish governments are “mired in scandal and chaos”.
Sarwar will accuse the SNP of being “distracted” as it deals with a police investigation into its funding and finances.
He said only Labour can replace the Conservatives at the next election, which is not expected to take place until at least the end of 2024.
Sarwar will say: “As they turn inwards and fight among themselves, the SNP have completely forgotten what matters.
“When you have a party that cares only about dividing the country, it’s no wonder that the party itself is now irretrievably divided.
“Those divisions were of course always there, beneath the surface, only kept at bay by Nicola Sturgeon and Peter Murrell as they used their power to shut down dissent and disagreement.
“And just like they covered up the truth about their own party, they tried to cover up their failings in office which have weakened every single institution in Scotland over the past 16 years.
“But Humza Yousaf is no Nicola Sturgeon.”
Sarwar will claim the “festering wounds “of the SNP have now opened, and accuse the party of “replacing cover-up and secrecy with incompetence and delusion”.
He will continue: “This distracted and divided government is disastrous for Scotland.
“So, no, I won’t just stand back and allow the nationalists to inflict further damage on our communities and our people.
“I will fight for change; because change is what the people of Scotland deserve.”
Sarwar has previously said his party is “election ready” and has appointed election coordinators.
At the weekend, UK Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the party needs to win a large number of seats in Scotland at the next general election if he is to lead a legitimate UK Government.
Scottish Conservative deputy leader Meghan Gallacher accused Labour of failing to stand up to the SNP.
She said: “The glaring recent example was when Sarwar whipped his MSPs to support the nationalists’ flawed gender recognition bill. This did not escape the Scottish public’s notice.
“Because they fall into line with the SNP so readily, Labour can’t be trusted to protect the union.
“They will be too easily tempted to do a deal with the SNP that would jeopardise Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom.
SNP MSP Kaukab Stewart said: “This desperate intervention by Anas Sarwar is laughable – and the irony of Labour lecturing about divided parties is not lost.
“Labour is nothing but a pale imitation of the Tories – whether it’s on Brexit, immigration or infringing on Scotland’s Parliament, the Westminster parties are two sides of the same old coin.
“While taking nothing for granted, the SNP continues to top the polls as, under Humza Yousaf’s leadership, we deliver every day for the people of Scotland. It’s no wonder the opposition is absolutely rattled.”