Richard Leonard has implored independence supporters to back Labour’s bid to end poverty and boot Boris Johnson out of Number 10.

The Scottish Labour leader made the last-ditch plea to put the constitution to one side as voters prepare to go to the polls of Thursday.

He told the Sunday Mail: “I understand that there are SNP supporters who want to see an end to poverty and inequality and genuinely believe that the way to do that is through the creation of a separate state.

“I don’t happen to believe that but my appeal to them is to think what we can start doing as soon as next Friday to start dealing with these issues.

“The SNP have said their ambition in this election is to deprive the Tories of their majority.

“Our ambition is to sweep the Tories out of power and put in their place a transformative Labour government.

“So all of these things people are concerned about – whether it is low pay, the unfair way Universal Credit works, justice for the women who have lost out on state pensions, the poverty on our streets – all of these things can be addressed within days of the election of a Labour government.

“People may think that the SNP has solutions but this is a UK General Election and the choice that we face on Thursday is that you vote for Labour or you end up getting a Tory government.

“It is a stark choice between five years or more tax cuts for the rich and the rolling back of public services, versus the election of a Labour government that wants to invest in public services and wants to make sure we resolve Brexit and wants to see the rich and big corporations pay their fair share.”

Labour’s once imperious hold over Scotland has been decimated by the SNP over the past five years.

In 2015, the party was reduced from 41 seats to just one north of the Border, before bouncing back up to seven in 2017.

Some polls have suggested Labour could be in line for another routing this time around due to another bounce in the popularity of the Nationalists.

But Leonard said: “There is a volatility in the polls and when I was out in Glasgow South West, for example, what I was finding on the doorstep was people who had flirted with the SNP in previous elections are now coming back to vote Labour.

“We know that in more than 20 seats in Scotland, there is a straightforward tussle between Labour and the
SNP in seats where there are very few votes between us so there is absolutely everything to fight for.

“By this time next week, there will either be a Tory or a Labour government.

“And as we count down to Thursday, people’s minds will be increasingly focused on that.”

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