Labour and Lib Dems receive major donations to lead SNP opposition

Scottish Labour and the Scottish Liberal Democrats have received £400,000 in donations to help tackle the SNP’s political dominance in Scotland.

The donations have come from company Peak Scientific, self-described as a “leading innovator and global expert” in hydrogen and nitrogen gas generator systems and headquartered in Inchinnan.

It said the donations aimed to help the parties “positively communicate” their visions for Scotland, particularly around “maximising the potential” of devolved powers.

The cash raises the prospect of the two parties working more closely together at elections, including a potential ‘non-aggression’ pact between the two in England at the next general election.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton

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A spokesman for Peak Scientific told the Daily Record: “We have made political donations to a number of parties over the years.

"We feel it is important that current opposition parties are well funded so they can positively communicate their plans for improving public services in Scotland by maximising the potential of the powers devolved to the Scottish Parliament.”

Scottish Labour and the Scottish Liberal Democrats formed the first two coalition governments in Scotland at Holyrood.

However both have seen their influence wane with Anas Sarwar’s party languishing in third place at last year’s election behind the Scottish Tories, while the Liberal Democrats ended the election with just four MSP and as the smallest group in the parliament.

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Leader of the party, Alex Cole-Hamilton, said: “I would like to thank Peak Scientific for their support. This donation is a massive vote of confidence in the party, my leadership and our prospects for growth across Scotland.

"Scotland has been held back by an SNP government obsessed with breaking up the UK.

"It's up to the Liberal Democrats and progressive allies to set out a vision for a Scotland with strong public services, a commitment to public education and a platform for businesses to flourish. That's how to get the SNP out of power.

"Peak Scientific’s donation will enable us to take a liberal message of new hope and partnership to all parts of Scotland, recruit and support excellent local candidates and develop the party's political agenda over the next couple of years. It's an exciting moment for our party."

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Mr Cole-Hamilton added that he gets along “well” with Mr Sarwar.

He added: “While there are obviously areas where we disagree, we both recognise the value of working with others and the need for fresh government in Scotland after 15 years of decline due to the stale, tired SNP."

Scottish Labour have struggled for funding in recent years, with Mr Sarwar stating that the party brought in just £250 in one year while under the leadership of Richard Leonard.

A Scottish Labour spokesperson said: “We are grateful for any donations which help us offer Scotland an alternative to the division and chaos of the SNP and the Tories.

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“Scottish Labour are fighting to build a better future for Scotland, and we welcome everyone joining us on that journey.

“On May 5 you can vote Scottish Labour to elect a local champion who will put your community first and fight for the issues that matter to you.”

Want to hear more from The Scotsman's politics team? Check out the latest episode of our political podcast, The Steamie.

It's available wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

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