Anas Sarwar: Scottish Parliament vote is like a 'wartime election'
Anas Sarwar compared May's Scottish Parliament vote to a "wartime election" as he called for a focus on recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Scottish Labour leader said the "circus" between Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond should be set aside in the coming weeks in favour of a concentration on the coronavirus crisis.
His comments come after Salmond's launch of the Alba Party and a number of SNP defections to the new pro-independence outfit, and Sturgeon's public insistence that the ex-SNP leader is asking voters to "gamble" on the outcome of an election.
Sarwar was keen to concentrate debate ahead of the election on recovery for the economy, the NHS, education and the climate.
He claimed allowing the conversation to be dominated by "egos" and "settling scores" would "betray" what people in Scotland are expecting from the election.
He said: "This isn't your normal election and I think too many leaders have misjudged the mood of the nation and I think they've misjudged the scale of the challenge that we're facing... We're still in a crisis, we're not past COVID yet. There are still people losing their lives, there are still lives at risk, people's livelihoods are still at risk.
"This is an election that's going to shape our country perhaps for a generation, although we're making decisions for the next five years in terms of decisions in the parliament, but the decisions we make are going to last a lifetime.
"I just think at this time of national crisis, this is a pandemic election, in many ways a wartime election and the idea that during this pandemic election, this wartime election, that you have a circus which is about egos, which is about settling scores, which is about going into old arguments, I think just betrays what I think the Scottish people would expect of the election and what they'd expect of the parliament.
"We cannot allow the circus of the last week to become the circus of the next five weeks and the circus of the next parliament.
"It would be a complete abdication of our collective responsibility in terms of the kind of democracy and kind of parliament that the people of Scotland need coming through this crisis.
"That's why I've got no time for any of the egos or any of the personalities."