Election week has started in earnest today, Monday, with both the SNP and the Conservatives adding weight to their campaigns through visits from their party leaders – who just happen to be Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and UK Prime Minister Theresa May.
However, the two visits could not have been more different.
In Hawick, Mrs Sturgeon arrived to bolster the campaigns of Westminster SNP candidate Calum Kerr and by-election candidate Gail Hendry, and chatted happily with a large crowd of supporters, with only a couple of police officers supplying security. See our Facebook page for videos of her visit.
And in Kelso, Mrs May, with a police escort, pulled up in the Tories’ battlebus to take a tour of Abbey Tool and Gauge in Pinnaclehill Industrial Estate, and a chat with the Conservative Party’s respective candidates, John Lamont and Rachael Hamilton. Given the secrecy of the visit, there were no cheering supporters, and we were asked not to divulge her appearance beforehand or put up any Facebook Live posts for security reasons, following the horrific events in London and Manchester.
We asked the First Minister what she thought was going to happen on Thursday, and if she thought the optimism shown by the Conservatives – with both Mr Lamont and Mrs Hamilton standing down from their posts at Holyrood – was misplaced.
She said: “The Tories have been pretty arrogant over the course of this campaign, almost counting the votes before the votes have been cast,
“We don’t take a single vote for granted, but as this campaign has wore on, I think more and more people are starting to see what the consequences of five more years of a Tory government would be, and the consequences of sending Tory MPs to Westminster to boost Theresa May’s majority.
I think in Calum Kerr and Gail Hendry, you have what will be strong voices for Scotland, and the South of Scotland, and able to stand up for the interests of people in this part of the country and Scotland overall.”
Once she stepped out of her bus on the way from giving a speech in Edinburgh, Mrs May was given a tour of the factory.
Afterwards, we asked her what the Conservatives would do for the people of the Borders – one of the lowest-paid regions in the UK.
She said: “We see the importance of strengthening our economy and ensuring their is growth and prosperity across the whole of the United Kingdom, and a key element of our vision of the future is our modern industrial strategy, that is about developing our capabilities, developing businesses across the whole of the United Kingdom, and as part of the future of the Borders, as we said in our manifesto, we would work to a Borderland growth deal, recognising people who live close to the border – they are going to be moving across the border – so it makes sense to look at a growth deal which takes in both sides of the border and I think that is an important thing for a more prosperous, stronger future.
Watch our video tomorrow for more of the Prime Minister at Kelso.