Scots urged to forget about independence in council vote

Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has urged voters against using next month's Town hall elections as a 'protest' against independence.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale.
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale.

The Lothians MSP has instead warned Scots against backing the “ruthless” Tories as polls suggest Ruth Davidson’s party is poised to push Labour into third spot for the second Scottish election in a row when voters go to the polls on May 4.

Ms Dugdale will formally launch Labour’s council election campaign in Edinburgh this morning along with deputy leader Alex Rowley.

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Prime Minister Theresa May recently called on Scots to use their vote next month to reject independence, but the Labour leader will today insist these elections are not about lodging a “protest vote” on the constitutional issue.

“Your vote in this election really matters,” Ms Dugdale will say.

“If you vote for the Tories, you are voting for them to be in power – to take control of your council services. Not to be in opposition or to protest against independence.

“So, before you vote, think about whether you want a Tory in charge of elderly care, social services and schools. This is a party itching to cut even more money from our valued public services.”

Ms Davidson has come under fire in recent weeks over her support for the so called “rape clause”. This has been introduced through a new cap on tax credit benefits at two children, with the UK government only allowing it for a third child where the mother can prove conception through rape.

“Ruth Davidson – who we were told was a different type of Tory – stood up and took a stand… not against poverty or injustice or the mistreatment of someone, but to justify the abhorrent rape clause,” Ms Dugdale will add. “That should tell you everything you need to know about the Tories.

Recent polling has suggested that Labour, once the party of local government in Scotland, has seen its support halve since the last election in 2012, with the party now sitting well behind the Tories.

Tory deputy leader Jackson Carlaw said: “This is desperate stuff from Kezia Dugdale.

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“She and her party are heading for an electoral disaster on 4 May.

“Judging from these comments, they are already in panic mode.”

He added: “It is only Ruth Davidson and the Scottish Conservatives who can be trusted to provide a strong opposition to the SNP and stand up against their plan for a second referendum.”