On the campaign trail: Ruth Davidson calls for unionists to embrace tactical voting on the list
Ruth Davidson has urged pro-UK voters to put aside party allegiances and “vote tactically for the Scottish Conservatives with their peach ballot paper.”
In an open letter, the former leader said the election was “coming down to one simple decision.”
With just 48 hours until polls open, the battle for votes on the list is heating up.
Tonight sees the final televised debate between the party leaders, with the SNP's Nicola Sturgeon, Tory Douglas Ross, Labour's Anas Sarwar, Green Patrick Harvie and Lib Dem Willie Rennie, all facing off in the BBC Scotland hustings.
All polls have the SNP as the largest party, and most have suggested the Tories will remain the biggest opposition. But the race for second place could be a lot closer than Davidson’s result in 2016.
In her letter, Davidson said: “We need to be 100% focused on recovery and nothing else.
“No matter who you vote for on your lilac-coloured constituency ballot paper, it is absolutely vital that you use your peach ‘party’ ballot paper to vote Scottish Conservative and Unionist, to stop an SNP majority and another independence referendum.
“So I’m asking you to use your votes on 6th May to really make sure that’s what happens.
“Peach party vote for the Scottish Conservatives to stop another referendum – it’s as simple as that.”
The Scottish Tories were criticised by unionist parties and some of their own supporters yesterday after they tweeted that “an SNP majority is a guarantee of another independence referendum.”
Lib Dem campaign chair Alistair Carmichael accused the party of having “given in and conceded an SNP win and a referendum.”
Meanwhile, the SNP will be campaigning on the NHS today, with Nicola Sturgeon asking Scots to give both votes to the SNP so she can take “immediate action” to remobilise the health service.
Campaigning in East Lothian and Edinburgh, the First Minister is expected to promise to launch an NHS Recovery Plan with the fist 100 days of an SNP government.
This will detail “a 10% increase in inpatient, day patient and outpatient activity to address delays caused by the pandemic, accelerate recruitment of staff and implement our Cancer Recovery Plan.”
She is expected to say: “We will also lay the groundwork for vital longer-term reforms – including taking the first steps to establish a National Care Service, which will bring enormous improvements both for people receiving care and the staff who care for them.
“Polls show that the result of this election is on a knife-edge - and every vote counts. By giving both votes to the SNP on Thursday, people can elect a government with the experience and the serious programme for leading Scotland out of the pandemic and protecting our NHS in the crucial period ahead.”
In Edinburgh, Labour leader Anas Sarwar will hold a photo call with Celtic ace John Hartson to discuss the urgent need “to tackle cancer waiting lists and deliver a catch-up plan for cancer care.”
Meanwhile, the Scottish Greens will set out plans for a £7.5bn green investment plan.
Speaking ahead of a visit to South Queensferry, the party’s co-leader Lorna Slater said Scotland needed to seize the opportunity to “usher in a new green industrial age.”
She added: “I’m optimistic about the future of Scotland, but there is no time to lose. This election will be the last where we can still make a significant policy shift to a green economy.
"The decisions we make now will reshape our common future, but only if we commit public investment to renewable energy and build things to last.”
In a new poll, nearly half of all Scottish voters believe there should be a second referendum if pro-independence parties win a majority.
The survey by Survation for ITV’s Good Morning Britain also finds that support for independence has fallen slightly, down two points to 47 per cent, while support for remaining in the union is up to 53 per cent.
Asked how they’ll vote on the constituency ballot, 46 per cent of voters say SNP, both the Tories and Labour are on 22 per cent, the Liberal Democrats are on 8 per cent. While on the list, the SNP are 37 per cent, the Tories on 22 per cent, Labour on 18 per cent, the Greens on 10, the Lib Dems on 7 per cent and Alba on 2 per cent.
Projections by Ballot Box Scotland, says that would result in 65 seats for the SNP, 27 for the Tories, 22 for Labour, 11 for the Greens and seven for the Lib Dems.
Asked what should happen in the event that pro-independence parties achieve a majority in the next Scottish Parliamentary election, 49 per cent of voters believe the UK Government should allow a referendum on Scottish independence if requested, compared to 41 per cent who don’t.