Labour will target vulnerable SNP MPs in seats with at-risk NHS hospital services, with Mhairi Black among the nationalists in the firing line.
The party says it will deploy hundreds of activists to target seats in Glasgow today, seeking to capitalise on months of damaging news on the NHS.
The blitz is the latest in a new tactic across the UK under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, targeting national resources outside of election periods at marginal seats, using local messages. Similar NHS-based campaigns are expected across Scotland in the coming months, with Labour preparing for another early election.
Activists are being directed to Airdrie and Shotts, where the SNP’s Neil Gray won by just 195 votes in 2017, and where services are being downgraded at Monklands Hospital, as well as Glasgow East, which David Linden won by just 75 votes.
A proposal by NHS Glasgow health board to close the Lightburn Hospital was rejected by the Scottish Government in January.
Labour will also send activists to Paisley and Renfrewshire South, where Mhairi Black has a majority of 2,541 and where the children’s ward at the Royal Alexandra Hospital is being closed.
Labour MSP Neil Findlay said: “After a decade of mismanagement our NHS is in distress. Staff aren’t getting the support they need to deliver the care patients deserve, waiting lists and waiting times are increasing and our nurses and doctors are under huge pressure.
“Only Labour will solve the workforce crisis that has led to thousands of unfilled roles in our health service, and end the sticking plaster approach of the SNP.”
A spokesperson for Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “This is staggering hypocrisy from Labour, who planned to close NHS facilities – including at Monklands – which were only saved by the SNP.
“We are delivering record health spending and staffing and will take no lectures from a Labour party which is only now getting round to the workforce consultation which they promised almost exactly a year ago.”