ANAS Sarwar has insisted the Holyrood election is "not a game" as he once again ruled out any pact with other pro-UK parties.

The Scottish Labour leader stressed his focus will be on Scotland's recovery from the pandemic and not egos, old arguments or the settling of scores. 

He said recovery "is more important than the psychodrama of Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon".

READ MORE: Restoring NHS must be priority, not 'settling old scores', says Labour

It comes after Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross raised the prospect of a pro-UK tactical voting campaign in the wake of Alex Salmond's Alba Party entering the election.

Writing in the Daily Mail, he said: "To stop an SNP majority and stop this new nationalist threat, I am willing to discuss what it would mean to tactically vote and how to maximise the pro-UK vote in constituencies."

Speaking to journalists as his party launched an NHS recovery plan, Mr Sarwar rubbished the idea.

He said: "I think what you see from Douglas Ross, and actually from Alex Salmond, is politics as a game. This is not a game.

"This election is not a game; our parliament is not a game.

"It is about focusing on what our priorities should be as a country, and deciding what the focus of our parliament should be for the next five years.

"Douglas keeps talking about this unionist pact. I asked him to grow up a few days ago, and I'm going to emphasise something again just now.

"He knows I do not support independence or a second independence referendum, but what he is trying to do is to play a game because he has no ideas about how we unite our country around a recovery plan.

"We cannot focus this election on the binary choices that both the SNP and the Tories want to confront the people of Scotland with."

He added: "I want us instead to bring our country together, to focus on our national recovery, to not be distracted by those old arguments, egos and settling of scores, but instead unite around putting our NHS, our education system, fighting poverty, getting people back to work front and centre of our politics."

Mr Sarwar said he did not think the electorate would appreciate "political parties playing games at a time of national emergency".

He added: "We are in the midst of a pandemic. This is not a normal election. This is a pandemic election – in many ways, a wartime election.

"And what people would expect is not politicians playing games, not politicians focusing on egos, not politicians focusing on the old arguments or trying to settle scores – would they would expect is political leaders to focus on what matters to them and their family, and that is a national recovery."

He said Mr Salmond's party is "not a serious attempt to reframe our political debate around the constitution". 

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He added: "This is an attempt to settle scores, to seek revenge and about individual people's egos.

"Our politics is much better than that – or at least has to be much better than that.

"Our debates have to be much better than that. Our parliament has to be much better than that, because people would expect their parliament to do much better than that.

"I have no time for these egos and personalities and settling of scores and the old arguments. 

"We need a relentless focus on a national recovery instead.

"So I want no part of that kind of ego-trip of one individual, because our recovery is more important than the psychodrama of Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon."