Ruth Davidson: Scottish Labour voters should back the Tories to defeat SNP
Ruth Davidson will use the Scottish Tories’ manifesto launch today to urge Labour voters in Scotland to back her party in order to peg back the SNP.
A Scottish Nationalist surge saw the party win 56 out of 59 seats at the last election, with each of the three main pro-UK parties left with just one seat.
Polling suggests that number is likely to be reduced however, with Ms Davidson’s Scottish Tories enjoying a surge in support.
She will today claim that "only the Scottish Conservatives are strong enough to take on the SNP" at the ballot box.
Ms Davidson will also accuse Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale of leaving voters in Aberdeen "betrayed" after she suspended all nine of her party’s councillors in the city for agreeing to prop up a Tory-led administration.
The party has previously insisted that they would not take part in any power-sharing agreements that would result in austerity on communities.
In a pitch to traditional Labour voters, Ms Davidson will tell an audience in Edinburgh that her party is“committed to workers' rights” and “boosting low pay”.
"This week the Scottish Labour party - already weakened - has entered a state of civil war," she will say. "The truth is, your party has left you, not the other way around.
"It may well find its way back. But you know - and I know - it won't be at this election. So let me do a job for you.
"In great swathes of the country, it is only the Scottish Conservatives who are strong enough to take on the SNP. And in many places we can only win, if you join with us."
The Tory leader will also claim her party is "rooted to the centre ground" and is "committed to workers' rights, boosting low pay, getting a good deal for fishermen and improving the education of our young people".
But Labour MSP James Kelly said: "Ruth Davidson wants people to believe that she's a different kind of Tory, but the reality is that the Scottish Tories are the party of the 'rape clause' and a hard Brexit.
"The Tories' reckless Brexit gamble has given the Nationalists the excuse they have been looking for to try to force another divisive independence referendum.
"In many areas all across Scotland, only Labour can defeat the SNP. That means Conservatives, Lib Dems and independents who have never backed us before must vote Labour on 8 June to send a message to Nicola Sturgeon that Scotland doesn't want another divisive independence referendum."