SCOTLAND’S political leaders are gearing up for a final frantic 48 hours of campaigning before voters go to the polls in Thursday’s General Election.
With the Conservatives and Labour neck and neck in the race for Number 10, voters north of the border will be key in determining who becomes the UK’s next prime minister.
Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy, whose party could be almost wiped out by the SNP, is warning voters not to “gamble on ending Tory rule” with a vote for Nicola Sturgeon’s party.
Mr Murphy, who will be campaigning with former prime minister Gordon Brown, predicted that if the Conservatives won just one more seat than Labour across the UK, David Cameron would hold talks with the Lib Dems with a view to forming another coalition.
He said: “We’re less than 48 hours away from being able to change our country and set out on the road to a fair economy. We get it by rejecting the divisions of the past and embracing a fairer plan for Scotland’s future.
“We cannot gamble on ending Tory rule with a vote for the SNP. They plan to vote against Labour budgets and a Labour Queen’s Speech, and are planning the road to a second referendum. It’s the last thing working class people in Scotland need.”
Mr Murphy argued: “Working families in Scotland cannot afford a decade of David Cameron. A decade of food banks, zero hours contracts and brutal cuts to welfare. A decade of austerity which sees an economic recovery reach the cabinet table of Government ministers but not the kitchen tables of Scottish families.
“The Tories’ plan is classic divide and rule. A divided Scotland means five more years of Tory rule. The only way to be sure of getting rid of the Tories is to vote Labour - if David Cameron has even one more MP than Labour then he will hold talks with the Lib Dems.
“The majority of Scots don’t want a second referendum and even more do not want another Tory government. Scotland needs change. Change that a UK Labour government can deliver. A UK Labour government that will set us on the road to a fair economy can be delivered with a vote for Scottish Labour on Thursday.”
Meanwhile Ms Sturgeon will focus her efforts on the impact a large group of Scottish nationalist MPs at Westminster could have.
In a speech in Dumfries last night she said the SNP - tipped to win as many as 50 seats north of the border - could make a ‘’big difference’’.
The First Minister dismissed suggestions that it must be the party that wins most seats in the Commons that forms the government, insisting that it must reflect the whole of the UK if it is to be considered legitimate.
Both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats will be campaigning in the north of Scotland, with Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson speaking to people on a steam railway train in Aviemore in the Highlands.
Meanwhile Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie will be campaigning in Gordon, the constituency former SNP leader Alex Salmond hopes to represent after Thursday.
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