Anas Sarwar: Scottish Labour has made 'substantive progress' since I became leader
Anas Sarwar believes Scottish Labour has made "substantive progress" in the almost nine weeks since he was elected party leader.
The Glasgow Southside candidate said it was "clear" that the momentum was with his party in the election campaign, adding that support was rising in the polls in the constituency and regional vote.
Sarwar himself has received plaudits for the way he has conducted his campaign, which has focused on a message of "national recovery" and opposition to, what he calls, "the old arguments" surrounding independence.
However, despite Sarwar's increasing popularity, there has been mixed opinion in the polls concerning whether Labour can overtake the Scottish Conservatives.
Asked if he was confident of propelling his party into second place, Sarwar said: "Looking at where we were eight weeks ago when I took over the job and where are now, we are making substantive progress and I want us to continue that progress over the next week and to get as best a result as we can do, so we can demonstrate progress and carry on the journey of reforming and changing the Labour Party.
"But the most important thing is what the next parliament focuses on and I want us to focus on that recovery. I'm saying directly again to people if you agree with me you need to use your second vote for Labour."
Sarwar said he understood that time would be a "challenge" in overtaking the Conservatives in next week's election, adding: "I've been in the job eight weeks, coming up for nine weeks, and we have just a week left in this election campaign.
"I understand that people will have had long term, perhaps even deep seated, frustration or even disappointment with the Labour Party, I accept that. I made that front and centre when I became leader that was an issue."
Sarwar said he wasn't pretending that Labour had "changed completely".
He said: "We are on a journey, we are changing and I have one week to persuade as many people as possible, and I don't pretend the process of change is complete, to say to people if you agree with the change we are making, if you want to join us on that journey, if you want to choose something different, if you want to unite our country around a recovery plan, use your second vote for Labour."