Ruth Davidson puts indyref2 opposition at heart of campaign

Scottish party leaders hit the campaign trail for the local government and general elections on Saturday.

Saturday, 22nd April 2017, 2:44 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:58 pm
Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson poses for pictures with a group of her supporters. Picture : Ian Georgson

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon pushed for votes in Edinburgh’s Stenhousemuir, while her rival, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, launched a campaign poster in the city.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale campaigned in South Queensferry, with Willie Rennie, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, hitting the streets of Dundee.

Meanwhile the SNP and Scottish Labour have confirmed they will have general election candidates in place next week.

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Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson poses for pictures with a group of her supporters. Picture : Ian Georgson

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The SNP has announced its 54 MPs will stand again, while candidates for the remaining five Scottish seats will be chosen by the end of the week.

Scottish Labour’s national executive committee has agreed to set up a selection panel led by Ms Dugdale and six other members to choose its candidates. Around 150 people have applied to stand for the party.

MSP James Kelly has also been appointed to lead Scottish Labour’s general election campaign.

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson poses for pictures with a group of her supporters. Picture : Ian Georgson

Ms Dugdale said: “These are extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves in, and Labour is moving at break-neck speed to select candidates who will stand in every seat across Scotland.

“Applications have flooded in from across the country to stand in this election, such is the determination of Labour members to work tirelessly to kick Theresa May out of office and elect Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister.

“Labour will run a positive campaign that rejects the divisiveness of the Tories and their plans for a hard Brexit, and the divisiveness of the SNP’s plans for a second independence referendum.”

The parties have reacted to the call for a snap general election on June 8, while continuing to campaign for votes in the council elections on May 4.

Ms Sturgeon visited a new development of fully-accessible flats in Stenhousemuir with local candidates Gary Bouse and Laura Murtagh to highlight the SNP’s housing pledges.

It has promised that SNP councils will build “their share of at least 50,000 new affordable houses across Scotland by March 2021, and work with housing associations to ensure at least 35,000 of these are homes for social rent”.

They have also promised to ensure that by March 2021 all temporary accommodation is of the same standard as permanent accommodation, and to consider the proximity of temporary accommodation to health and education services.

Ms Sturgeon said: “We believe that everyone in Scotland deserves a warm, affordable home. That is why SNP councils will commit to three key pledges to ensure everyone has access to a safe home.”

Ms Davidson unveiled a dual campaign poster in Edinburgh focussed on the Tories’ message of opposition to a second independence referendum, with the slogan, ‘We said no, we meant it’.

The Lib Dems have reported an 8,000 member surge since the snap election was announced on Tuesday, and £500,000 of fundraising in 48 hours.

On the local campaign front, Mr Rennie said: “In Dundee we have fantastic candidates taking the fight straight towards the SNP in their heartlands and come May we are ready to claim a few scalps.

“The announcement of the general election last week has only added to that and activists in Dundee and around Scotland are relishing the upcoming elections.”