Published: Sun, June 04, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling in tactical voting plea to unionist voters

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

The ex-prime minister and his former chancellor reunited to pen letters to nearly 100,000 Scots in constituencies where Labour believes it can oust the SNP, calling on them to help prevent "another divisive referendum" on independence.

The Conservatives also claimed a comment by former Liberal Democrat minister Sir Vince Cable was further evidence of non-Tory parties plotting a "coalition of chaos".

But the first minister said it would happen only after the outcome of the Brexit negotiations became clear.

In his letter, Mr Brown says Nicola Sturgeon "should focus on the day job of running our schools and hospitals, and forget about her obsession with another divisive independence referendum".

She said: "There is a very clear choice on Thursday - you can either vote for a party which is committed to continuing its failed cuts agenda or you can vote for the SNP and demand that Tory austerity is consigned to the dustbin".

Former Better Together leader Lord Darling told voters: "I retired from frontline politics after the independence referendum but I'm sending you this letter because we have a real opportunity at the ballot box on 8 June to end talk of another referendum".

Mr Robertson said the election campaign had "completely exposed" Conservative Party plans to hit family incomes and the incomes of older people.

In the recent local elections in May, Labour were the largest party in East Lothian and Midlothian, and believe they are better placed than any other pro-union party to defeat the SNP in the other seats.

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"I was proud to play my part in the campaign to remain in the UK".

Lord Darling was campaigning in Clarkston, East Renfrewshire, with Labour candidate Blair McDougall who is hoping to win back the seat Jim Murphy lost to the SNP in 2015.

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

Meanwhile, Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said there would be "no need to negotiate" with the SNP because the party would face the prospect of backing a minority Labour administration or "letting the Tories back in".

A party spokeswoman said: "This is a sad, dreary intervention from two of yesterday's men - Scotland has moved on, but neither Gordon Brown or Alistair Darling seem to realise it".

"As this campaign has gone on, I think more and more people have seen what the consequences of a Tory government with an increased majority would be and they don't like that".

"Indeed, Labour are working hand-in-glove with the Tories in councils across Scotland - and they have privately admitted that they are cheering on the Tories in seats across Scotland".

A spokesman for Scottish Labour said: "Support for the SNP is on the slide thanks to the threat of a second independence referendum".

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".

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