Local government election: Last pitches from parties are national as well as local

Written by Tom Freeman on 3 May 2017 in News

Focus is shifted back onto to local government ahead of tomorrow's council elections

Ballot box - PA

The last pitches from Scotland’s political leaders ahead of Thursday’s local government election have contained national and constitutional issues as well council ones.

Labour and the Conservatives challenged voters to send a message to the SNP over Scottish independence, while the Liberal Democrats said they were in the unique position of being for both the European Union and the United Kingdom.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon campaigned in Leith, while Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson and Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale also gave speeches in Edinburgh.


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Davidson said: “Who, in our local communities, will act as champions for local services not cheerleaders for separation? It can only be the Scottish Conservatives who provide that challenge.”

Davidson said the party’s local government manifesto had only received “muted interest” but her party would pursue “a case for localism and for growth”.

“If you asked most Scots right now – they’d rather SNP councillors were filling up in cracks in their road, not opening up cracks in the UK,” she said.

Dugdale said Labour councillors would be “local champions”.

"So on Thursday send the Tories a message – tell them that Scotland does not want their austerity,” she said.

"And send Nicola Sturgeon a message as well. Tell her to abandon her plan for another divisive referendum and get on with the day job.

"You can protest against the Tories and protest against plans for a second referendum on Thursday with one vote. By voting Labour.”

Sturgeon said it “speaks volumes” that her opponents were talking about independence.

“Tomorrow’s vote is about choosing who is best placed to take decisions about the future of our communities,” she said.

“We know that Labour have for far too long put their own interests before those of the people they represent, while the Tories are intent on a damaging cuts agenda, while proposing no positive policies in this election.”

Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said his party was campaigning on education and mental health.

"We're standing up for Scotland's place in the United Kingdom, and the United Kingdom's place in Europe - we've got a unique position, and that's why more and more people are coming to the Liberal Democrats," he said.

Andy Wightman MSP, Local Government spokesperson for the Scottish Greens said the party was engaged in its biggest ever council election campaign.

"After decades of centralisation, local democracy hangs in the balance. More Green councillors are sorely needed to help return power to local level,” he said.

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