Scotland politics

Parties prepare for start of the official campaign period

A poster on a van showing Ed Miliband and Alex Salmond as Laurel and Hardy, with the rotunda and Finnieston crane in the background

Parties in Scotland have been gearing up for the start of the official General Election campaign on Monday.

The Tories said a Labour-SNP deal after the election would be "a fine mess," whilst the Liberal Democrats criticised the SNP's economic policy.

The leader of Labour in Scotland, Jim Murphy, attacked the "cruel cuts" being planned by the Conservatives.

Meanwhile, the SNP are hosting their largest ever conference in the SECC in Glasgow.

An advertising van with a Conservative poster showing Ed Miliband and Alex Salmond as the comedy double act Laurel and Hardy was parked nearby.

It is the latest in a line of Tory campaign material focussing on the idea that were Labour to require support from the SNP as a minority government, this would have negative consequences for the UK as a whole.

The poster read: "Only the Scottish Conservatives will secure a better future for Scotland. Don't let Labour and the SNP wreck it."

'Ever-growing debt'

The Liberal Democrats have launched an attack on SNP economic policy, saying it will "wreck the recovery".

Scottish Liberal Democrat party president Malcolm Bruce MP said: "It is not liberal or progressive to leave an ever-growing mountain of debt for future generations to pay.

"The Conservatives want to cut too much, putting at risk public services, and the SNP want to borrow even more than Labour, threatening our economic recovery.

"We will not spend today what our children should have tomorrow. Only the Liberal Democrats have a clear and affordable plan to create a stronger economy and fairer society for Scotland."

A 'cruel blow'

Meanwhile, Labour said that 340,000 disabled Scots would be at risk from Conservative benefit cuts, after leaked documents appeared to show that taxing Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payments and Attendance Allowance were ideas being considered to reduce the welfare budget by £12bn.

Jim Murphy, leader of Labour in Scotland, said: "These cuts would be cruel blow to those Scots who are already struggling with personal difficulties to make ends meet.

"It is a mark of a civilised society that those who have most help those who have least and are less fortunate. Around 340,000 Scots currently receive Disability Living allowance and if these proposed cuts were introduced, their benefit would be taxed.

"The scale of these cuts show why it is imperative that Labour wins the General Election."

'Discredited Westminster system'

At the SNP conference, which the party said 3000 people attended, leader Nicola Sturgeon promised to reform Westminster for ordinary people, wherever they lived in the UK.

Addressing "people of progressive opinion all across the UK", Ms Sturgeon said: "As long as Scotland remains part of the Westminster system, we will be your allies in seeking to shake up and reform that outdated and discredited system once and for all.

"Westminster needs to change. To be more responsive to the needs and demands of ordinary people, wherever they are in the UK.

"So to people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, I make this promise. The SNP stands ready to work with you in making that positive change for all of us."

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