Leaders begin final push for votes

Scotland’s political leaders are beginning their final push for votes with just one week to go until the General Election.

Both SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and Labour’s Jim Murphy will unveil new campaign posters, while Conservative leader Ruth Davidson will launch her party’s election broadcast, which claims the Tories speak for the “quiet majority” of Scots.

Elsewhere Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie will highlight his party’s plans to save workers a further 400 from their income tax bill as he visits a farm shop outside of Edinburgh.

It comes as The Scottish Sun urged readers to vote SNP next week.

The newspaper, which supported the party at the 2011 Scottish parliament election, said the SNP will “fight harder for Scotland’s interests at Westminster” with a front page along a Star Wars theme.

With seven days of campaigning left until polling day, Ms Sturgeon said it was now “clearer than ever that Scotland is on the verge of an historic opportunity, which we can achieve if we unite to make Scotland strong at Westminster with a big team of SNP MPs”.

An opinion poll yesterday suggested the Scottish nationalists could win 54% of votes north of the border in the election, and could seize all 59 seats north of the border.

With another hung parliament the most likely outcome for the UK, Ms Sturgeon added that a large number of SNP MPs gave Scotland the “opportunity to have a decisive position” at Westminster.

“The more votes and seats the SNP wins a week from today, the stronger Scotland’s voice will be at Westminster,” she said.

Meanwhile the Scottish Labour leader said Scotland is facing two paths in next week’s election, telling voters: “It’s either the road to a fairer economy with a Labour Government, or the road to a second referendum with the SNP.”

Mr Murphy said: “Scotland needs a Labour Government that will make social justice its priority. A Labour Government that will ban exploitative zero hours contracts, raise the minimum wage and extend the living wage.

“A Labour Government that will scrap the hated bedroom tax and freeze energy prices.

“The poverty and inequality that scars Scotland won’t be solved by another divisive referendum.

Scotland was told repeatedly by Nicola Sturgeon that the referendum was a once-in-a-generation event, we now need to focus on making Scotland better for generations to come. That’s my promise, the SNP need to keep theirs.

“The majority of Scots don’t want another referendum, and the vast majority of Scots don’t want another Tory Government, but that’s what could happen with a vote for the SNP. Only a vote for Scottish Labour can start us on the road to a fairer nation.”

Ms Davidson stressed the Scottish Conservatives were the “party for the majority who want to stay part of the United Kingdom, and want an economy which secures everyone a job”.

She summed up her campaign in 10 words: “Keep Scotland’s economy strong and keep Scotland in the UK.”

The Scottish Tory leader added that the choice facing voters next Thursday was between “a party which will keep Scotland’s economy strong and keep Scotland in the UK” and a “weak Labour government haggling with the SNP over how to run the UK”.

Mr Rennie meanwhile will team up with Liberal Democrat Edinburgh West candidate Mike Crockart to highlight the party’s plans for a fairer tax system.

As workers receive their wages for the first time since the latest increase in the income tax threshold, the Lib Dems will set out how their proposals would result in a 400 income tax cut.

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