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Scotland's political parties make final push for votes

Scotland's political parties make final push for votes

Scotland’s political leaders have been crossing the country in a final push for votes ahead of Thursday’s election.

Nicola Sturgeon was touring key seats she hopes her party can pick up, visiting Aberdeenshire West, where Fergus Mutch hopes to unseat incumbent Tory Alexander Burnett.

Her bus tour later took her to Dumbarton where Labour’s Jackie Baillie is defending a wafer-thin majority of just 109. 

Pollsters have all said the SNP will win the most seats, but they are divided on whether or not the party will win a majority. 

Sturgeon told the BBC that "nothing can be taken for granted".

She added: "The SNP is the only party with an immediate plan to get Scotland through the COVID pandemic.

"And the SNP is the only party with a serious programme for government to kick-start economic recovery, to remobilise our NHS and to tackle the climate crisis - but to get that serious government people have to vote for it.

"I'm ready to get back to work, to take the difficult decisions, and to put Scotland first."

In Glasgow, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar held a “drive-in rally” with former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. 

Speaking to activists in their cars, he insisted he could "be the First Minister” after the 2026 election. 

He said his was a long-term project.

Though polls suggest Scots have warmed to his leadership, this hasn’t transferred into support for Sarwar’s party, who look set to remain in third place.  

“This campaign isn’t about one day on 6th May,” Sarwar said. “Be in no doubt: this campaign is part of a journey, a journey to having a Labour First Minister and a Labour government,” he said.

He added: “I say directly to people across Scotland: if you agree with me, if you like what I’m saying, if you want to build that credible alternative, you have to vote Labour tomorrow.”

Speaking to journalists afterwards, he said he was not expecting the keys to Bute House on Monday. 

“I’ve been in the job for nine weeks, I would love to believe that we could complete that journey over a ten-week period but I’m being realistic,” he added.

“I would love to be First Minister after the election tomorrow, that’s of course up to the good people of Scotland to decide if that’s what they choose. I’m accepting that may be just a mountain too high for me at the moment, but if that’s what they choose, I have a recovery plan ready to go to help us transform this country.”

Meanwhile, in a blow for Sarwar, the Scottish Tories have been endorsed by former Labour minister Tom Harris. 

In a column for the Daily Mail, the ex-MP for Glasgow South who served as rail minister under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, said he cast his postal ballot for the Tories with “no joy in my heart”.

Ruth Davidson, who is quitting Holyrood to take up a seat in the House of Lords urged other Labour supporters to follow Harris’s lead. 

“If we unite and bring back the Better Together spirit for one day only, we won’t have to go through the division and uncertainty of another referendum. 

“We’ll stop the SNP again, just like we did by coming together in 2016.

“There is only one way to guarantee we stop the SNP wrecking Scotland’s recovery and get all of the focus back onto rebuilding Scotland – lend the Scottish Conservatives your peach ballot, even if it’s just this once.”

In an eve of poll rallying call to the “independence family,” former First Minister Alex Salmond urged Yes supporters to back the SNP on the constituency vote and Alba on the list.  

He said: “I know what to do with the first ballot paper,  I've voted SNP because it is right and proper that the SNP win the overwhelming majority of the constituency seats on which they shall base a majority. 

"It is quite clear from the recent opinion polls, whatever else is clear, that the SNP are going to do that and that means inevitably as a matter of arithmetic they are going to get nothing at all on the regional list. 

“So when we take that second ballot paper for Independence supporters into our hands, then of course there is only two Independence supporting parties on that ballot paper apart from the SNP - who are going to gain nothing.”

He said the Greens were “insipid” on independence, and that those who saw a change in Scotland’s constitutional priority should back ALBA, “the plucky underdog of Scottish politics”.

Salmond said they would put forward the case for independence “with urgency and determination”.

Scottish Greens co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater were campaigning in Edinburgh. 

Harvie said: “We have a positive vision for Scotland. This is the time to take matters into our own hands, to build a Scotland that can lead Europe in tackling the climate emergency. But there is no time to lose.

“We’ve shown in our campaign that green voters made a real difference to the last five years, and can have a huge impact in the next five years as we face up to the bold decisions needed to tackle the climate emergency.”

Meanwhile, Lib Dems leader Willie Rennie has insisted his party could increase the number of MSPs 

Delivering an eve of poll message before a photo-opp in a microlight, he said: “Liberal Democrats are on the brink of taking new seats from the Borders to the Highlands.

“Voters can choose whether the next Parliament is one that puts recovery first or one that is dominated by independence.

“The next Parliament must have a needle-sharp focus on helping education bounce back, cutting mental health waits, creating jobs for people desperate for work and taking action on the climate.” 

Read the most recent article written by Andrew Learmonth - Tories accused of 'complete betrayal of north east' in just transition snub

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