ANAS Sarwar has claimed his party is the only one with momentum going into the final week of the election, but refused to say how he would measure success.

The Scottish Labour leader today launched a second battle bus using the same peach colour as the regional ballot paper in a last-ditch appeal for list votes.

Scottish Labour won 21 of its 24 MSPs via the regional list at the 2016 election, holding just three constituencies.

Starting a final week tour of the country, Mr Sarwar said: “It’s clear that the momentum is with us in this election campaign. You can see that we are the ones rising in the polls and our message is cutting through to the public around not going back to the old arguments.”

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Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross this week predicted his party would hold on to second place at Holyrood and remain the principal opposition.

Mr Sarwar predicted Labour support to carry on rising as  all other parties fell in the coming days, but repeatedly refused to say if Labour would come second.

He said: “We are making substantive progress and I want us to continue that progress over the next week and get the best result we can to demonstrate progress.”

But asked which standard election benchmark he would use to demonstrate progress - vote numbers, vote share or MSP numbers - Mr Sarwar refused to say.

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He said: “I think even our biggest critics accept that we are making progress. I think you can see the way the campaign is going, the way the message is cutting through, that we are making progress. 

“And so, what would, what would just remind people of is where we were eight weeks ago.

“Eight weeks ago we were at 14% in the polls, the Greens were saying that we were going to be pushed into fourth place, and the debate was whether Labour would get 15 MSPs or not, and even ask a question at FMQs.

“So we are making progress, and I want that progress to continue, but the next week is really crucial.

"I want to persuade as many people as possible over the course of the next week to vote Labour, to use their second vote in particular for Labour, and let's get the best result we can.”

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Asked why he was still behind Mr Ross, he said: “The momentum is with us. Our vote is increasing both in the constituency and on the list. Their vote is coming down. Every other political party’s vote is coming down.

“Our vote is going up in the constituency and is going up, and I think over the next week we can carry on that momentum and pull off some surprises on 6th May.”

Asked, on the basis of those trajectories, if he expected to overtake the Tories, he said: “Let’s hope so, but that’s for the good people of Scotland to decide.” 

Earlier, Mr Sarwar launched a new bus which reads: “Use your second vote for Anas Sarwar’s Labour” with a picture of a ballot paper with a vote for Scottish Labour. 

He said: “We have one week to go. One week to ensure that the people of Scotland get a parliament focused on the national recovery, not the old arguments.

"We simply can’t come through the collective trauma of Covid and go back to the old arguments.  

“While the Tories are playing political games, my only priority is delivering our national recovery from Covid. We have had 14 years of SNP broken promises and failure, we can’t afford to have a government or a parliament that takes its eye off the ball from the recovery.

“That’s why a vote for Labour matters. For the next six days, I will be travelling the length and breadth of Scotland, taking Labour’s message of hope and unity to every community and saying that we can choose to focus on what unites us not what divides us.”