Conservatives urge Labour supporters in Scotland: Vote Tory to save the Union

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The Scottish Conservatives have launched a fresh bid to convince Labour supporters to lend them their votes on Thursday to help stop the SNP's plans for a second referendum on independence.

The Tories believe that many traditional Labour voters, particularly in the west of Scotland, are disillusioned with Jeremy Corbyn's leadership style and are concerned he would do a deal with Nationalists MPs to help him into Downing Street.

Scottish Conservative MSP Adam Tomkins said today his party was the only 'tall enough' to stand up to Nicola Sturgeon

Scottish Conservative MSP Adam Tomkins said today his party was the only 'tall enough' to stand up to Nicola Sturgeon

Speaking at a campaign event in Bothwell today, the party's constitutional spokesman claimed that "everyone else runs scared of Nicola Sturgeon" and only the Conservatives were "tall enough" to stand up to her.

Adam Tomkins MSP, who described himself as a former Labour voter, made a direct appeal to those considering voting Conservative for the first time.

"In Scotland it has been clear throughout the whole of this campaign what Thursday is all about - Nicola Sturgeon wants to use the general election to push on and on towards a second independence referendum," he said. "It's been equally clear that only one party stands tall enough to stand up to Nicola Sturgeon and protect Scotland's place in the UK not just in the next five weeks, but in the next five years".

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Bothwell lies in the Lanark and Hamilton East constituency, a key target for the Tories on December 12, where the SNP's Angela Constance is defending a majority of 266. Both her party and the Conservatives believe Thursday's election is now a straight contest between them in the seat - winning over those who voted Labour in 2017 will be crucial in deciding victory.

Labour said today that the only way to guarantee "real change starting on Friday" was to vote for them. The party said it would end homelessness, child poverty and fuel poverty.

But the Tories are gambling that Scotland's position in the Union will be the main motivating factor for undeciced voters.

Mr Tomkins continued: "I joined the party in 2014. I am a new Tory. And until I joined the party, I had never voted Tory, I was for the most part a Labour voter. But I signed up, like so many people, because I realised the Scottish Conservatives are the only party dedicated, come what may, to Scotland's place in the Union.

"Everyone else runs scared of Nicola Sturgeon - but not us. Everyone else would cut a deal with Nicola Sturgeon - but not us, not now, not ever.

"We have been speaking to thousands of Labour supporters in what used to be a safe Labour seat. And, like me, they are coming across because they recognise the difference between us and everyone else is, that when we hold a referendum, we respect its result and we stand on the side of the people that want that result to be delivered."

Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw said: "We know at stake is Scotland's place in the United Kingdom. We know, however much she might be trying to amend her rhetoric, that the only that matters to Nicola Sturgeon is demanding that second independence referendum on Friday morning. And we also know that Jeremy Corbyn has already agreed to roll over and deliver it if that's what it is going to take for him to get into Downing Street.

"A man who didn't even campaign in the Scottish independence referendum in 2014 is prepared to sell Scotland's interests in order to get into power. And Unionists - and Labour Unionists in particular - across Scotland are appalled."

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: “This election is about the kind of country we want to live in.

"Do we want to live in a country where the most vulnerable people in our society go without support, or do we want to live in a country where those same people will be treated with dignity and respect? Do we want to live in a country where people die on our streets and kids go to bed hungry, or do we want to live in a society where we can eradicate homelessness and child poverty?

"This is an election that will define the future direction of the country for a generation. The choice could not be clearer - a caring, compassionate government determined to enact real change or more cuts and division with the Tories."