Scots party leaders campaign in battleground seats

image captionNicola Sturgeon campaigned alongside East Renfrewshire MP Kirsten Oswald

Scotland's party leaders have been campaigning in battleground seats ahead of the snap election on 8 June.

There is less than six weeks until the UK goes to the polls, following local authority elections on 4 May.

Nicola Sturgeon campaigned in Neilston alongside incumbent East Renfrewshire MP Kirsten Oswald.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson was in North Berwick, while Labour's Kezia Dugdale visited Easterhouse.

Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie was in Pittenweem, where his party announced long-standing councillor Elizabeth Riches as their candidate for North East Fife.

The UK goes to the polls for a snap election on 8 June, five weeks after local authority elections across Scotland.

Campaigning in East Renfrewshire, which both the Conservatives and Labour have talked up as a potential target, Ms Sturgeon directed her fire at the Tories.

She said: "The first full week of the election has revealed the true cost of voting for the Tories at this election. From their defence of the rape clause to their failure to commit to fair pensions, and the slew of statistics outlining the consequences of Tory austerity, it's clear that the Tories are failing Scotland and will continue to do so."

image captionRuth Davidson visited a sweet shop in North Berwick

Labour is standing former Better Together director Blair McDougall in the seat, which Ms Oswald took from then-Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy. The Conservatives have selected Paul Masterton, having taken the corresponding Holyrood seat in a three-way contest in 2016.

Tory leader Ruth Davidson hit the campaign trail in East Lothian, saying there was a "huge buzz" around the party's campaign.

She said: "We're working hard all over the country, and people in East Lothian, in the Borders and in Banffshire know that if you want someone that's going to stand up to the SNP, that is able to take on the SNP and lead the fightback against the SNP in Scotland, then it's the Scottish Conservatives that are the people to do it."

Labour has put forward Martin Whitfield in the constituency, which George Kerevan took for the SNP in 2015, 6,803 votes ahead of Labour in second.

image source, AFP
image captionKezia Dugdale was campaigning in Easterhouse

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale was in Easterhouse alongside Kate Watson, the party's candidate for Glasgow East.

Ms Dugdale said local people deserved a "champion", adding: "The election in Glasgow is a two-horse race between Labour and the SNP. The best way to send a message to Nicola Sturgeon that people want her to focus on the day job rather than campaigning for another divisive referendum is to vote Labour."

The SNP is in the process of selecting a candidate for the seat, won for them at the last election by Natalie McGarry, who ended the truncated parliamentary term sitting as an independent following a police investigation.

image captionWillie Rennie visited a cheese factory

Meanwhile Willie Rennie campaigned in North East Fife alongside Elizabeth Riches, who the Lib Dems have selected to run against SNP incumbent Stephen Gethins.

The councillor has represented the East Neuk for 27 years and was depute leader of the council for five years. The seat was held by Sir Menzies Campbell for 28 years, but after he stepped down in 2015 Mr Gethins captured the constituency with a majority of 4,344, or 9.6%.

Mr Rennie said Ms Riches could be a "cracking MP", adding: "She has the determination, energy, intellect and steely backbone that North East Fife needs. She has been a doughty campaigner for the East Neuk for many years and will use that experience to stand up for us in Westminster."

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