June 27, 2017

General election 2017: Scotland's political leaders step up their campaigns

18 May 2017, 02:17 | Katie Chavez

"In seats like Rutherglen and Hamilton West, and in most areas across Scotland, it's a two horse race between Labour and the SNP".

But First Minister Nicola Sturgeon hit back, branding claims the Tories were a threat to the SNP "ludicrous" and that Miss Davidson risked being left with "egg on her face".

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May will order her Conservatives to forget last week's triumph in local elections and to renew their efforts to work "flat out" for "every vote" in Britain's national campaign.

The SNP leader has framed the General Election as a choice between the Scottish Parliament's right to take decisions and the Conservative government at Westminster. "It's time to focus on this crucial general election campaign - and we can take absolutely nothing for granted", May will tell the event on Monday. "So for people in Scotland, if they want strong voices standing up for Scotland's interests and holding the Tories to account in Westminster, that can only come from the SNP".

Conservatives have been buoyed by Thursday's council election gains, setting their sights on ousting SNP heavyweights such as Alex Salmond, Angus Roberston and Pete Wishart.

But, in contrast to 2015, it is no longer Labour who the SNP have most reason to worry about.

The party has a list of seven Scottish seats in hoped to win based on council results.

As a result, the Conservatives gained 164 councillors across Scotland.

A month away from the general election, Ms Sturgeon will turn her fire against Mrs May and attempt to link her to Ukip.

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Professor Curtice said the Tories had failed to open a large gap between them and Labour, and that Kezia Dugdale's party was "down but not out".

After the votes were counted the party lost 133 councillors and majority control of four councils. Therefore, although the Labour Party is down I don't think it is yet out.

Corbyn acknowledged there had been some "difficult" results but quickly switched to Labour's core campaign message on Friday evening.

"We won the local government election in Gordon this week, beating the SNP into second place".

It says Ruth Davidson's party is now ahead in 15 constituencies in Scotland and may defeat the SNP in parts of the country it previously regarded as unwinnable.

But she insisted the SNP had "won this election comfortably" with her party ending up with "more votes, more seats, more councils where we are the largest party, not just compared to every other party but compared to five years ago". In retrospect, Nicola Sturgeon pushing for a second independence referendum when she did has turned out to be an absolute gift for her bitterest foes. "It was the only thing they spoke about", she said.

She added: "I certainly have no qualms or any fear about governing as a minority administration, and talking to colleagues from other parties on an issue-by-issue basis to get support from them".

"People will find it hard to believe them when they say they won't be backing any particular candidate". The SNP won 32.3% of the vote, while the Conservatives secured 25.2% and Labour 20.2%.

Nuttall said he expected a revival of the Eurosceptic party's fortunes when the hard realities of the Brexit negotiations become clear and May was forced to make concessions over the terms of the UK's departure from the EU.

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