Party leaders hit election campaign trail

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon

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THE SNP’S election campaign will focus on the party’s key priorities for health, education and the economy, Nicola Sturgeon said, as she accused opposition parties of “not taking the campaign seriously”.

Ms Sturgeon’s remarks came as Conservative leader Ruth Davidson criticised the SNP leader’s plan to launch a fresh initiative for independence over the summer.

Labour leader Kezia Dugdale

Labour leader Kezia Dugdale

Ms Sturgeon began her campaign in the Dumbarton constituency with a visit to the Maid of the Loch in Balloch, West Dunbartonshire. She outlined pledges to increase the frontline health budget in each year of the next parliament, establish five new elective treatment centres and improve access to health and social care.

She also promised to invest an extra £750 million to close the attainment gap in education, protect the Small Business Bonus Scheme, work to ensure more people are paid the living wage and expand childcare.

Ms Davidson, who joined supporters who voted No in the independence referendum on Calton Hill in Edinburgh, said: “We see now that it was a bogus set of maths that the SNP were trying to sell the people of this country and it would have cost us a lot of money.

“This is about looking forward rather than back, so we made that decision, it is time the SNP respected that decision and moved on, and talked about what they are going to do in the future, rather than try to drag us back to another referendum.”

Conservative leader Ruth Davidson

Conservative leader Ruth Davidson

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie responded to Ms Sturgeon’s comments that opposition parties were “not taking the campaign seriously”. He said: “Nicola Sturgeon claimed she wanted a war of ideas rather than a war of words.

“That didn’t last long, did it?”

Meanwhile, Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said only her party had a “focus on the future”.

Ms Dugdale, who was campaigning in Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire, said: “Both the SNP and the Tories have spent the day re-running the old arguments of the past. Labour is the only party with a focus on the future.”

Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie

Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie

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Scottish Green Party leader Patrick Harvie

Scottish Green Party leader Patrick Harvie

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