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by Louise Wilson
03 July 2024
Scottish party leaders make final bids to voters ahead of election

Party leaders are setting out their final arguments ahead of polls opening tomorrow | Alamy

Scottish party leaders make final bids to voters ahead of election

Scottish party leaders are making their final bid to voters ahead of polls opening tomorrow morning.

John Swinney is doing a whistle-stop tour of key central belt seats as he highlights the Scottish results are “on a knife-edge”.

Anas Sarwar, also in the central belt, is urging voters to “end the Tory nightmare” before appearing alongside Keir Starmer for a final event in Lanarkshire.

Douglas Ross is in the north east, where he says several seats are a “straight fight” between the Conservatives and SNP.

Alex Cole-Hamilton visits a social enterprise in Edinburgh as he talks up Lib Dem plans for carers, mental health services and sewage dumping.

And Lorna Slater is calling on the UK Government to get behind “100 per cent renewables” after visiting a tidal energy project in Orkney.

Polls open across the UK at 7am on Thursday and close at 10pm. Results will be counted overnight.

Voters will elect 57 Scottish MPs to send to Westminster on their behalf.

Elections in Scotland have been dominated by the SNP for the last decade, but polling has suggested the party is facing a major challenge from Labour as Starmer looks set to win a sizeable majority UK-wide.

Swinney is expected to deliver a final speech on Wednesday evening where he will say the SNP is the only party offering “a different vision”.

He will say: “That vision of hope stands in stark contrast to the future of austerity and despair on offer from Labour.
 
“We don’t have to accept that bleak future offered by Westminster. Things can be better than this. Scotland can do better than this. Only the SNP offers Scotland the hope of a better future. But we have to vote for it.”

Through the day he will visit SNP candidates in Cumbernauld, Airdrie and Shotts, Glasgow South, East Renfrewshire, and Livingston.

Meanwhile Kate Forbes is campaigning in Aberdeenshire North and Moray East – where Douglas Ross is standing – alongside SNP candidate Seamus Logan.

Sarwar is highlighting his party’s proposals for a state-owned energy company, delivering a living wage, increasing NHS funding and creating green jobs in Scotland.

He said: “This election is an opportunity for change that Scotland cannot afford to miss.

“Imagine waking up on Friday to the news of five more years under the Tories – the same sleazy Tories that put party before country, crashed the economy and left ordinary families to pick up the bill.

“But with a simple cross in a box on Thursday, Scots can end the Tory nightmare and deliver a transformative Labour government with Scotland at its heart.”

And Slater has said the climate crisis is the “most urgent and severe” challenge the next UK Government will face. She said: “There is a huge opportunity ahead of us if we grasp it… These are the jobs and industries that we need to embrace if we are to build a cleaner, greener and better future.

“Every vote for the Scottish Green is a vote for change and a call to deliver the green investment and decisive action that people and planet needs.”

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