Holyrood 2016: Labour fighting to win, says Alex Rowley

Deputy leader Alex Rowley with Kezia Dugdale. Picture: Toby Williams
Deputy leader Alex Rowley with Kezia Dugdale. Picture: Toby Williams
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Labour’s campaign manager has insisted his party is still fighting to win the Holyrood election, even though polls put it in a “difficult” place.

Alex Rowley, Scottish Labour deputy leader, said the party has the right policies and the “level of ambition Scotland needs”, and added: “We just need to work hard to persuade people.”

He said: “We’re working for every vote, we’re campaigning to win this election.

“We’re realistic in terms of where the polls are at, but we’re working to win this election, we’re not working to be second, we are working to be first and we will continue to do so, right up until the polls close.”

A new opinion poll has put the SNP on course for another majority at Holyrood, with Labour neck-and-neck with the Conservatives in the race for second place.

But Mr Rowley said: “In this election, more than any other election over a lot of years that I can remember, there is a real difference, a real choice between the parties, the parties of austerity, the SNP and the Tories, or the party that is against austerity, Labour.

“We know that the polls are difficult for us, we know that the last two years have been difficult for Labour, but I believe we’re in the right place.

“We’ve got the right policies, we’ve got the levels of ambition Scotland needs and we just need to work hard to 
persuade people.”

Campaigning at a bowling club in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, he highlighted Labour’s pledge to ensure that anyone who needs a home care package will have the support they need in place within a week.

He said: “Right now in Scotland one of the biggest challenges in our National Health Service is bed blocking, and while people talk about the pressures that puts on hospitals we’ve always got to remember that we’re talking about real people, trapped in the hospital when they should be in the community.

“The reason they can’t get that care is local authorities, and now these health and social care partnerships, don’t have the money to put the care packages in place and it is a real crisis.”