Scottish Parties On Election Battle

Scotland's political parties are issuing some of their key messages to voters today with 100 days to go until the general election.

The SNP's depute leader Stewart Hosie said backing the party on May 7 would give Scotland a "powerful voice to protect and promote Scottish interests''.

He said: "Our message is that people have 100 more days to make Scotland's priorities Westminster's priorities - which can only be achieved by voting SNP. We take nothing for granted, and while the polls and last week's by-election in Fife indicate the potential SNP vote, they act as a spur to the entire party to work harder than ever before so that we can do better than ever before.

"Scotland needs and wants an alternative to austerity cuts, cancellation of the horrendously expensive Trident renewal, the real powers of Home Rule, protection for our oil and gas industry, and safeguarding our place in Europe by ensuring that all four UK nations would have to vote for EU withdrawal before the UK could exit. And we are prepared to vote for a Bill to restore the NHS in England to the public service, publicly accountable, it was always meant to be - which will help safeguard Scotland's budget.''

Meanwhile Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy said Scotland could "help end Tory rule across the UK''.

"The opinion polls show that this general election is neck and neck between Labour and the Tories. It looks like the closest election for decades and Scotland can decide whether David Cameron stays or goes,'' he said.

"Scotland is changing, and Scottish Labour is changing with it. It's a fresh start for Scottish Labour and the path to a better nation runs through May 7 and getting the Tories out.

"Only the biggest party after the general election can form a government. In the referendum whether you were Yes or whether you were No, most Scots know it's time for the Tories to go. Only Labour is big enough and strong enough to defeat David Cameron. Scotland can protest against the Tories by voting for any party but only Labour can replace them.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie will declare it is "all systems go'' as he joins activists in Edinburgh to set out the party's priorities for the next five years while meeting voters.

"Labour are in denial over their role in the economic crisis and want to borrow their way out of debt,'' he said.

"The Tories will only ever stand up for the wealthy and want to cut our public services to the bone. The SNP may try to pretend otherwise, but people know they took their eye off the ball during the referendum and will always put securing independence first.

"Only the Liberal Democrats can deliver the stronger economy and fairer society that we want to see and help provide opportunity for everyone.''

The Scottish Greens said they expect to stand in around 30 of Scotland's 59 Westminster constituencies, with a surging membership now at 8,500.

Patrick Harvie the party's co-convener, said: "Whether it's fracking, publicly-owned railways or the unfair TTIP trade deal, it's clear we're connecting with voters on key issues, with the other parties hurrying out new positions in response. Greens across the UK have long challenged the Westminster consensus on austerity; our vision of an economy with good jobs, better wages and strong public services is gaining momentum as we head towards an election like no other.

"Given Labour's decision to support the coalition's charter for cuts, it's never been more important to get more Green MPs on to the Commons' green benches.''

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