General election is 'straight choice' between Labour and Tories, says Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer has said the general election is a “straight choice” between Labour and the Tories during his final campaign event north of the border.

The Labour leader said the election in Scotland is “very tight” and appealed to SNP voters to help his party boot out the Tories from office.

Polls show Starmer is heading for a landslide victory over the Tories after a bruising six week campaign for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

He could be in line to meet the King and deliver a speech outside Downing Street as early as Friday.

Labour is also on the verge of winning dozens of seats from the SNP, but the battle in Scotland has tightened in recent days and could go either way.

In a speech at the Caledonian Gladiators stadium, which is part of the marginal East Kilbride and Strathaven seat, Starmer said the choice for Scots is clear.

He said: “It’s really important to be laser focused on what today is about.

"Today is a straight choice between more of the Tories or a Labour Government.

“There are only two people who are going to be Prime Minister on Friday - Rishi Sunak or me.

“So across Scotland that is what has to be uppermost in people’s minds.”

Coming in first place in Scotland would be a huge moment for Labour after over a decade of SNP dominance.

But party insiders believe the result will come down to a handful of seats across the central belt.

Starmer said the contest in Scotland is “very tight” in a number of constituencies and will turn on a few hundred votes.

He said: “A vote for any other party is a vote to continue with the Tories.”

In an impassioned speech to around 200 party activists, he said the Tory Government had “let down” Scots in each of the last fourteen years.

He said: “It’s such an important choice for Scotland because Scotland needs change.”

He also mocked the SNP campaign line of sending a “message” to Westminster by voting Nationalist:

“I want a Labour government to have Scotland at its heart. The route to a Labour government runs through Scotland, has always run through Scotland.

“The SNP say [in] the most important election for I don’t know how long, and they say what? Send a message.

“Send someone, an SNP MP, to sit on the opposition benches for this important period of history, and say a few things across the aisle. I don’t want Scotland to send a message, I want Scotland to send a government.”

He said he wanted “brilliant” Scottish Labour MPs elected to deliver policies such as the publicly-owned GB Energy.

Starmer has promised Scottish Labour MPs will be central to his Government, but declined to comment on possible positions.

He said: I'm not going to predict what the cabinet is going to look like. But I will tell you this - those Scottish Labour MPs will be a powerful voice for Scotland, but so will I.

“The whole Labour government will want to deliver for Scotland and that starts with me. That's why I've spent so much time in Scotland, why we've worked so closely together for Scotland. It starts at the top. It starts with me.

“I want to start delivering for Scotland from day one in government if we get elected.”

Starmer said of winning in Scotland: "It matters to me. Over and above the pure numbers, it matters to me because I want to be a prime minister for the whole of the United Kingdom.

"I want to be a prime minister for Scotland, serving Scotland, delivering for Scotland, and we can start that work on Friday morning if we're elected into government."

He also said of the importance of Labour forming the Government: “I’ve been in opposition for nine years. You don't bring about change from opposition. I can tell you that. It’s scarred across my mind. You only do it from government.

Starmer arrived in Scotland after flying from Wales as part of a whirlwind tour of mainland Britain.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar introduced Starmer at the sports stadium yesterday.

He said Scotland faces a choice between five more years of Sunak, or change with Starmer.

The Glasgow MSP said today can be the “last day of a Tory Government” and the beginning of a new “journey” with Labour.

He added: “Scotland has a chance to make history.”

Joani Reid, Labour’s candidate for East Kilbride and Strathaven, also spoke at the rally.

She said: “Let’s get out there and deliver the change Scotland needs.”

She is up against SNP candidate Grant Costello in what is widely regarded as a two-horse race.

The general election campaign has been marked by Conservative chaos.

Sunak, whose party has all but conceded defeat, started by announcing the election in the rain.

He was then mocked for launching a campaign event next to the Titanic centre and blasted for bailing from a D-Day event early.

Tory strategists then pivoted from a message based on trying to beat Labour to depriving Starmer of a super-majority.

The final YouGov poll found Labour in line to win a majority of 212 - the biggest of any single party since 1832.

It put Labour on 431 seats across the UK and the SNP slumping to 18, making Starmer’s party the biggest in Scotland.

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