The Labour leader in Scotland said a vote for the SNP or the Conservatives at the next general election was a “vote to block change”.
Sarwar spoke just days after Nicola Sturgeon announced that she was resigning as SNP leader and Scotland’s first minister after eight years in the job.
Sarwar sought to capitalise on the immediate bounce that has been awarded to Scottish Labour in the wake of Sturgeon’s exit, which he previously said was an “opportunity” for his party.
He told SNP voters that switching their allegiance to Labour was the best way to “get the Tories out of Downing Street”.
It comes after a YouGov poll showed Labour is now almost neck and neck with the SNP, with the Tories trailing behind.
The poll, carried out between February 10 and 15 — the day Sturgeon resigned — put the SNP on 29%, with Labour on 27% and the Conservatives on 12%.
Speaking at Scottish Labour’s spring conference in Edinburgh, Sawar said: “I want to make a direct appeal to people who have voted SNP in the past.
“We understand your desire for change — we share it. We recognise your desire to get rid of the Tories — we share it.
“We know you dream of a brighter future. It’s a dream we share because this isn’t as good as it gets. You deserve better. Scotland deserves better. Change is possible. So let’s come together and get the Tories out of Downing Street, because that’s the change Scotland needs.”
Sarwar also turned his fire on the Tories, —branding them a “gift for the nationalists — and the Green Party, whom he accused of being “green by name, yellow by nature” because of their support for the SNP.
Speaking of the Tories, he said: “They have been a human shield for the SNP for 13 years. Every Tory failure a cover for SNP failure — frankly Scotland deserves better than both of them.
“Scottish Labour is building an alternative to the tired governments of today.”
And of the Greens, he added: “Right now, we must be the only country in the world with a Green Party that doesn’t actually prioritise green politics. In the middle of a climate emergency, their leaders chose ministerial bicycles before principle or planet.”
Sarwar, who was elected Scottish Labour leader in February 2021, also unveiled a raft of policy announcements, including that a Labour government in Scotland would introduce an Amazon tax and that there would be a Scottish arm of a publicly owned Great British Energy, previously announced by Keir Starmer.
He also said Scottish Labour would create a “radical” £1 home scheme that would buy up unused and neglected homes and sell them on for the same price to future homeowners.
“It would give them a government-backed loan to transform them into homes that will be lived in and loved. Helping to regenerate neighbourhoods at the same time,” he told the conference.