Election 2015 Scotland

Election TV debate fallout dominates Scottish campaign

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Media captionParty leaders have been giving their experiences of the TV debate

The fallout from Thursday night's ITV general election debate has dominated the Scottish campaign trail.

The SNP pointed to the results of snap polls as it claimed victory in the debate for its leader, Nicola Sturgeon.

The Conservatives said the debate had shown that only two of the seven leaders who took part had a chance of becoming prime minister.

And Labour said it had made "crystal clear" the choice facing Scottish voters on 7 May.

The Liberal Democrats said the debate had shown UK politics had become more fragmented, with voters dissatisfied with the game of "pass-the-parcel" between Labour and the Conservatives.


The verdict of the snap opinion polls


Ms Sturgeon returned to Edinburgh after the debate, where she visited a pharmacy as she argued that a strong team of SNP MPs will put an end to austerity, as well as take a stand against the privatisation of England's NHS, which has knock-on effects for Scotland's budget.

The SNP was buoyed by the performance of its leader in the televised debate, which saw Ms Sturgeon attempt to reach out to voters in England by saying that SNP MPs at Westminster would be "a voice to help bring about change for you too."

The party said more than 1,200 new members had joined during the two hour long debate, and said the combined results of three snap polls by ComRes, ICM and YouGov released after the debate suggested Ms Sturgeon was judged to have performed best by 21.7% of respondents.

This was marginally higher than David Cameron's 21%, with Ed Miliband on 20.3%, Nigel Farage on 20% and Nick Clegg on 9.3%, the SNP said.

Former party leader and first minister Alex Salmond said Ms Sturgeon had "hammered" the prime minister in the live TV debate, which Ms Sturgeon said she had enjoyed as it had "demonstrated the days of the old boys' network at Westminster really are over."

'Crystal clear'

Meanwhile, Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy and Glasgow Central candidate Anas Sarwar were in Glasgow to launch the party's pledge to ban "exploitative" zero hours contracts.

Speaking ahead of the event, Mr Murphy said the TV debate had "made crystal clear the choice facing Scots at the general election".

He said: "In the debate there were seven passionate speakers but only two potential prime ministers. There are lots of ways to protest against David Cameron but only one way to replace him.

"We can either have a prime minister in Ed Miliband who will make life fairer for working class Scots and bring an end to failed Tory austerity, or we can have David Cameron's unfair cuts that have done so much damage to families in Scotland."

Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson was campaigning in Musselburgh on the day of the town's Good Friday race meeting.

Image copyright Itv

She said: "Last night's debate may have been between seven leaders but the truth is that only two of them stand a chance of getting into Downing Street.

"Our next prime minister will either be Ed Miliband or David Cameron. That is the basic choice people face. And the fact is that when asked to choose between the two, most Scots prefer the prime minister.

"A return to Labour's economic mess - made worse by having the SNP in saddle, pulling the reins - would undo all that hard work, racking up huge bills on our country's credit card and expecting them to be paid by our children and grandchildren."

Elsewhere on the campaign trail, the Scottish Liberal Democrats criticised the SNP's plans for healthcare funding.

The party's Sir Malcolm Bruce said: "The SNP plan to borrow £180bn to pay for their promises threatens to wreck NHS funding.

"The SNP plan to take on more debt would mean £3.1bn extra in interest payments every year. That eats into the money available for health. The entire NHS funding they propose is wiped out by three years of interest payments."

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to pump an extra £800m a year into the NHS in Scotland under their health spending vision.

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In an interview with BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme, UKIP's Scottish MEP David Coburn defended party leader Nigel Farage's comments during the debate that tax payers in England were "cheesed off" with the amount of public money that goes to Scotland.

The claim had been dismissed by Ms Sturgeon, who said Scots had paid more tax per head of population every year for the past 34 years.

Mr Coburn said: "I think most reasonable Scots believe in the fair allocation of money. I think the SNP may make a big fuss about this but I think fair minded Scots like myself and everyone else believe we should give the English a reasonable deal too."

Meanwhile, Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie was campaigning in Glasgow, highlighting the party's pledge to bring the railways back into public ownership.

His fellow co-convener, Maggie Chapman, was asked by Good Morning Scotland how the party would fund its policy of £10 an hour minimum wage by 2020.

She said: "The HMRC's own figures indicate that there is £34bn missing from the UK economy at the moment because of tax cheats. That is the kind of thing we need to change.

"There is money there across the board. One of the things we are doing is working up these numbers. We see the £10 minimum wage as part of a suite of economic policies that serve to put people back at the centre of the economy."

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