Kezia Dugdale: A vote for the Tories will hand power back to SNP

Ian Murray will be fighting for every vote in Edinburgh South as he tries to retain the seat he won in 2010 and held in 2015. Picture: Scott Taylor
Ian Murray will be fighting for every vote in Edinburgh South as he tries to retain the seat he won in 2010 and held in 2015. Picture: Scott Taylor
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In seats across Scotland, it is only Labour that can beat the SNP. Nowhere is that more true than in Edinburgh South, where Ian Murray is running for re-election.

In 2010, the bookies and the pundits wrote Ian off, but he defied the odds and won. In 2015, he increased his majority.

Kezia Dugdale is leader of the Scottish Labour Party and a Lothian list MSP. Picture: John Devlin

Kezia Dugdale is leader of the Scottish Labour Party and a Lothian list MSP. Picture: John Devlin

The people of Edinburgh South have persistently put their faith in Ian because they know he will always stand up for them – and it’s not hard to see why when you look at his record.

Ian has been independently verified as one of the hardest working MPs in the entire UK. He is as committed to his constituents as he is to his principles.

But he is not complacent. Over the next three weeks Labour will be fighting for every vote in Edinburgh South, just as we are in every seat across the country.

Campaigning isn’t always easy – this is our fifth election in just three years. But Labour stands for what the majority of Scots want – Scotland as part of the UK with the strongest possible ties with Europe.

The truth is, both the SNP and the Tories are putting the future of Edinburgh and Scotland at risk.

The SNP only care about forcing another unwanted and divisive independence referendum on the people of Scotland. The Tories are only interested in forcing through a hard Brexit that no one – particularly in Edinburgh – voted for.

Scotland’s two nationalist parties are throwing the future of Edinburgh, Scotland and the UK into doubt – and that is why it is essential that we elect as many Labour MPs as possible.

Labour MPs such as Ian in Edinburgh South or Martin Whitfield in East Lothian will stand up against Nicola Sturgeon’s plans for a divisive second independence referendum. But they will also fight against a hard Tory Brexit that will put our economic future at risk.

The key sectors in Edinburgh such as our universities and financial services need and demand a good deal from Europe and Theresa May is not offering such a deal.

The Tories are desperate to convince voters they have a chance in Scotland, but nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is that a vote for the Tories will just let the SNP back into power. It will help give Theresa May a free hand to introduce despicable policies such as the rape clause.

Most importantly, a vote for the Tories will write Theresa May a blank cheque to destroy our relationship with Europe and our economic future along with it.

The same is true of the SNP. Nicola Sturgeon might say she cares about the EU, but the reality is she is just using the referendum result to try and force another divisive independence referendum on the people of Scotland.

The SNP’s position on Europe is such a mess that it doesn’t even know if it wants Scotland to stay in, leave or try and join some halfway house like European Free Trade Area. That’s not something the people of Edinburgh want or need – and the reality is in seats across Scotland it is only Labour that can challenge the SNP.

In Edinburgh South, for instance, it is a straight fight between Labour and the Nationalists. The Tories just are not at the races – and vote for Theresa May and her hard right Tory government would do nothing but give the SNP a chance to win.

This election is a chance to elect a progressive government for the whole of the UK. It is an opportunity to say no to Nicola Sturgeon’s plans for a divisive second referendum and Theresa May’s plans for a hard Brexit.

Instead, voters in places like Edinburgh South and East Lothian can return a hard-working MP who will fight tirelessly for their constituents and their principles.

Kezia Dugdale is leader of the Scottish Labour Party and a Lothian list MSP