Humza Yousaf predicts SNP won’t lose seats at next General Election
The SNP have suffered at the polls in recent months following the resignation of Nicola Sturgeon and subsequent bruising leadership campaign, as well as the arrest of Ms Sturgeon's husband - and former party chief executive - Peter Murrell and then party treasurer Colin Beattie in relation to a police probe of the party's finances. Both men were released without charge pending further investigation.
Labour has been rising on the back of turmoil within the SNP and the Tories in the past year.
Asked by the PA news agency if his party could drop seats at the next election, Mr Yousaf said: "No. We're working hard to make sure we don't lose seats, we go into every election hoping to not just hold what you've got but to try to win seats."
He added: "I know that Scottish Labour have already in their hubris decided that they've won that election, but I'm not taking anything for granted, hence why I'm going out campaigning today."
Mr Yousaf said he would be "knocking on doors, making the case, persuading of the fact that independence is needed now more than ever before".
Meanwhile, former first minister Alex Salmond was campaigning in Bellshill ahead of a council by-election there caused by the resignation of former North Lanarkshire council leader Jordan Linden after accusations of sexual impropriety. Joining his party's candidate in the ward John Marshall, Mr Salmond said the independence movement must highlight that the cost-of-living crisis is "a symptom of Westminster rule"