John Swinney ‘very confident’ of SNP gains at General Election

John Swinney has said he is “very confident” the SNP can hold its Edinburgh seats and make gains at the General Election, as he visited a renewable electricity company in Scotland’s capital.

The SNP hold three of Edinburgh’s five constituencies, with the Lib Dems and Labour holding one each.

Mr Swinney also stressed that he would stay on as leader of the SNP even if his party performs poorly, saying “of course, I’m just in the door”.

The veteran parliamentarian became leader of the SNP less than three weeks ago, beginning his second period at the head of the party.

The First Minister visited Graviticity in Leith on Friday, joined by SNP MP Deidre Brock.

General Election 2019
The First Minister was joined by Deidre Brock (Lesley Martin/PA)

Speaking to journalists, he said: “The SNP has got a great team in the city of Edinburgh.

“I’m very confident that we will hold on to our seats that are held by Deidre Brock, by Joanna Cherry and by Tommy Shepherd.

“And I’m also very confident that the SNP can make gains in this election.

“We’re going to fight every single election in every seat in the Lothians and every seat in the city of Edinburgh and every seat in Scotland to win.”

Mr Swinney was asked if he would stay on as leader if the SNP did as badly as polls suggest they might.

He said: “Of course, I’m just in the door – I don’t think I’ve been SNP leader for three weeks yet.

“I’ve got an election campaign that’s just come over the horizon so I’m going to lead the SNP with all that I’ve got.”

He reiterated that he intends to lead the SNP into the 2026 Scottish Parliament elections and beyond.

Mr Swinney stood down as SNP leader in 2004 after the party’s share of the vote dropped.

The First Minister said Labour and the Conservatives would waste Scotland’s renewable energy potential.

He said: “Labour and the Tories have squandered Scotland’s oil revenues for decades – and now with their foolish commitment to austerity they are standing in the way of our incredible renewable energy potential too.

“Scotland has won the energy lottery not once but twice – we simply cannot afford to see another generation of opportunity thrown away by a Westminster government with absolutely no interest in Scotland.”