Tories Target 'Every Single Vote'

29 April 2015, 16:18 | Updated: 29 April 2015, 16:52

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson insisted her party was "fighting for absolutely every single vote" in next week's General Election as a new poll showed the Tories closing on Labour north of the border.

The latest Ipsos Mori poll put support for the Tories north of the border up five points to 17%.

Labour is backed by 20% of voters in Scotland, according to the poll, with the SNP out ahead on 54% -  a result which could see them win all 59 Scottish constituencies at Westminster.

With just over a week to go until the General Election, and with the Conservatives and Labour seemingly neck and neck in the contest across the UK, Ms Davidson said: "We are fighting for absolutely every single vote."

She added: "What's gratifying for me is that in terms of the big echo through this election has actually been September's referendum and the Scottish Conservatives are the only party on the pro-Union side that's looking to put on votes and seats.

"Even another poll today showed us up again, same as we had just three days ago showing that we are up on our 2010 total."

She also spoke out in favour of the UK renewing its Trident nuclear weapon system after a group of former defence and security chiefs warned getting rid of he missiles would be an "irresponsible folly".

A letter to The Times, signed by 20 people including former GCHQ director Sir David Omand and former head of the Royal Navy Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, argued: "In an uncertain world where some powers are now displaying a worrying faith in nuclear weapons as an instrument of policy and influence, it would be irresponsible folly to abandon Britain's own independent deterrent."

Ms Davidson, who spoke out after driving a tank around an outdoor adventure park near Dundee, described the weapons system as being a "cornerstone" of the UK defences and "an ultimate deterrent".

She said: "We've seen 20 defence and security chiefs talking about the need for us to properly finance our defence force in this country, and in particular to make sure we replace the Trident nuclear weapon submarines, the submarines they sit on, with four boats instead of three.

"I think when you talk about the cost of replacing the submarines that Trident sits on and the running cost, you've got to put it into context. That is about 6% of the UK's overall defence budget - it's 1.5% of our welfare benefits budget.

"This has been a system that has been an ultimate deterrent, it has been a cornerstone of Nato, the alliance in which we sit, for decades. It will also have a lifespan of more than 30 years.

"I don't know what threats our country, our region, the world, is going to face over the next 30 years and I don't think Nicola Sturgeon does either.

"That's why I think we should listen to the defence chiefs who are writing publicly today about how this is a cornerstone of our defence here in the UK."