Scotland politics

Election 2017: Parties push to meet Scottish voters

Nicola Sturgeon in helicopter Image copyright PA
Image caption Nicola Sturgeon is airborne this weekend as she tours constituencies by helicopter

Scottish politicians are out meeting voters this weekend with just five days to go until the general election.

Nicola Sturgeon is flying by helicopter in a bid to visit half of Scotland's constituencies before polling day.

Former Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling has been campaigning in East Renfrewshire.

Ruth Davidson has been reaffirming her opposition to a second referendum and Willie Rennie said it was a straight race between the Lib Dems and the SNP.

On Saturday, the first minister's helicopter was due to make stops in six constituencies - from Cumbernauld in North Lanarkshire to Clydesdale and Tweeddale.

Ms Sturgeon has been setting out what she says is "the real cost of voting Tory".

The SNP won 56 of the 59 seats in Scotland in the 2015 general election, a record result which the polls have suggested they may struggle to match this time round.

But Ms Sturgeon insisted that "now more than ever it is vital that we have strong SNP voices standing up for Scotland".

She said: "The Tories' austerity agenda has failed on every count - not only has it choked off the economic recovery but the years of underinvestment have put huge pressure on public services across the UK.

"We simply can't go on with more of the same but that is exactly what the Tories are planning to do - and this snap election has presented a golden opportunity for voters across Scotland to say enough is enough.

"With polls tightening across the UK, the votes of people across Scotland could determine the size of Theresa May's majority in the next parliament."

Image caption Alistair Darling was campaigning in East Renfrewshire

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale was campaigning in East Lothian, while former chancellor and Better Together chief Alistair Darling met voters in East Renfrewshire.

Mr Darling refused to be drawn when asked repeatedly if he thought Jeremy Corbyn would make a good prime minister, saying: "He's had a much better campaign than anyone had thought at the start."

He said "the tide is turning" and "the shine is coming off the nationalists" because of their "poor" record on health and education.

Mr Darling added: "More and more people across Scotland just want the SNP to get on with the day job, and drop its plans for another unwanted and unnecessary referendum.

"Instead of campaigning for better standards in our schools and hospitals, once again the nationalists have taken to the streets to campaign for another divisive independence referendum."

Image caption Ruth Davidson gave a speech on a street in Aberdeen
Image caption Willie Rennie was on a beach in St Andrews recreating a famous scene from the film Chariots of Fire

In Aberdeen, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson was rallying party activists in the north-east with a speech setting out her opposition to a second referendum.

She said the election on Thursday was the "last chance to stop Nicola Sturgeon in her tracks".

"It's our last opportunity to have our say, make Nicola Sturgeon listen for once - and stop her second referendum," she added.

She said the only way to "fightback against the SNP" was to vote for the Conservatives.

She went on: "We are 100% committed to opposing the SNP's second referendum - you all know you can trust us on that."

Meanwhile Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie was recreating a famous scene from the film Chariots of Fire as he raced supporters along a beach in St Andrews in Fife.

He said: "We are targeting to win seats like Edinburgh West, East Dunbartonshire, North East Fife, Caithness, Argyll and the Highlands. In those seats we are the people that can change the direction of this country.

"In less than seven days' time people have a straight choice. Do they want an MP who will do nothing more than advance the cause for another divisive independence referendum, or do they want an MP that will stand up for the local community?"