THE SNP candidate who is hoping to claim the scalp of Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy in East Renfrewshire has appealed to Tory voters for support.


Kirsten Oswald, who opinion polls have suggested is on course to defeat Mr Murphy in the seat he has held since 1997, praised "values of hard work, responsibility and public service which the Conservative Party has traditionally stood for" in a letter to voters who canvassing had shown were likely to vote for David Cameron's party.

She added that the SNP were best placed to defeat Labour, asking potential constituents to "please lend me your vote."

Kezia Dugdale, Scottish Labour's deputy leader, accused the nationalists of "desperation" by "begging for Tory votes."

She added: "After weeks of telling Scots that they'll do everything to keep the Tories out of power, they'll tell Tory voters that they now 'respect their beliefs' when it helps them.

"This is rank hypocrisy from the SNP, whose empty rhetoric on standing up to the Tories is now plain for all to see; they'll say whatever they need to to get a second referendum."

Polls commissioned by Lord Ashcroft have shown that Ms Oswald is ahead in the seat, but that the race is narrowing as more Conservative voters transfer their support to Mr Murphy. The most recent snapshot put her ahead by three points, down from nine earlier last month.

Ms Oswald, a human resources worker who joined the SNP in June last year, said: "The only hypocrisy is from Labour, whose leader has said he would rather let the Tories back in than work with the SNP to keep them out.

"The point being made is the contrast between what were shared values across the political spectrum and the appalling Tory Party campaign which Gordon Brown has described as 'anti-Scottish'. That is what the Tory Party has become."

Dr David Montgomery, who is standing for the Conservatives in East Renfrewshire, said that tactical votes in any direction would be "a waste".

He added: "Conservative voters now have parties on every side begging for their vote. It makes it clearer than ever that if you have Conservative values, you have to vote for the Scottish Conservatives.

"It's incredible to see the local SNP candidate talking up how much in common the two parties have, while Nicola Sturgeon tells anyone who'll listen we don't share a single value.

"It's a desperate campaign trick we've already seen from Labour in East Renfrewshire, and now the SNP are joining in too."