The SNP are “very optimistic” they can win back seats in the north-east, the deputy first minister has claimed.
John Swinney joined the campaign trail in Aberdeenshire yesterday, meeting activists at Foxlane Garden Centre in Westhill.
Joined by Fergus Mutch, SNP candidate in West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, Mr Swinney said he was “very optimistic” they would be able to build momentum in seats such as the one he was visiting, as the campaign reaches its final two weeks.
A recent constituency-by-constituency YouGov poll published earlier this week indicates that if the election was held on Thursday, the Conservative Party would win a comfortable 68-seat majority and predicts the party are “likely” to hold on to West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine.
But Mr Swinney said: “As we go into the last couple of weeks of the election there’s every opportunity for us to continue to build that momentum. I’m very optimistic we’ll be able to do that in seats like West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine where our teams are working so hard and where it’s so clear to voters that if they don’t want to wake up to the nightmare on December 13 of having a Boris Johnson government that they vote SNP to stop that happening.”
Mr Swinney said it was important to stress to voters the importance of ensuring Scotland is protected from a “very damaging Brexit”.
He added: “We know that a Johnson government is going to be unsympathetic to issues that we value significantly, like tackling child poverty or protecting the National Health Service.”
Mr Mutch, who is standing for election in the seat, said his party were in a “really good place” in this election. He added: “We started off with an 8,000 Tory majority to overturn and I think by the looks of it we’ve cut that significantly and everything is heading in the right direction.
“People are determined to lock the Tories out of power this time around. They see Boris Johnson and his hardline brand of politics, and the sort of cabinet he has around them, as completely contrary to their beliefs and what they feel best serves the north-east of Scotland.”
Andrew Bowie, Scottish Conservative candidate for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, said: “John Swinney may not want to talk about it today, but every vote that the SNP get will be used to justify the case for a second independence referendum.
“We know that Nicola Sturgeon will stop at nothing to break up the UK. The people of West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine that I am speaking to during this campaign certainly don’t want to go back to the division of 2014.
“They want us to move on and focus on the things that matter – growing our economy, investing in public services and fixing problems like poor broadband and mobile phone coverage in rural areas.”
Other candidates standing in the seat are Paddy Coffield, Labour, and John Waddell, Lib Dems.