Just a handful of votes will determine the outcome of constituencies across Scotland, both John Swinney and Sir Keir Starmer have said.

The two men used rallies on the final day of campaigning to warn their respective supporters against staying at home.

The SNP leader said with polls showing the result in England being a “foregone conclusion” Scots should vote for his party to “put Scotland’s interests first.”

But Sir Keir told activists gathered in East Kilbride that the vote was a "straight choice" between Labour and the Tories.

A vote for the SNP would, in effect, be a vote for Rishi Sunak, he claimed. 


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Meanwhile, one of the Prime Minister's most loyal Cabinet allies all but conceded defeat.

Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride told the BBC it was likely Labour would "have the largest majority that any party has ever achieved.”

That was backed up by a glut of polls published yesterday afternoon.

In their final MRP, YouGov forecast Labour to win 431 seats, giving them the biggest majority of any administration since 1832.

Under the firm’s modelling, the Tories would win just 102, while the Liberal Democrats would be on 72, and the SNP on 18.

(Image: Colin Mearns/H&T)

When put to Sir Keir that the polls suggested he did not need to rely on Scotland for a majority, he said it was not a “numbers game.”

“I want a Labour government to have Scotland at its heart,” he told the candidates, supporters and journalists gathered at the Caledonian Gladiators arena.

“The route to a Labour government runs through Scotland, has always run through Scotland.

“And I want voters in Scotland not to send a message. The SNP say, the most important election for I don’t know how long, and they say what? Send a message.

“Send someone, an SNP MP, to sit on the opposition benches for this important period of history, and say a few things across the aisle. I don’t want Scotland to send a message, I want Scotland to send a government.”

He refused to be drawn when asked if that meant he would include Scottish MPs in his cabinet.

“I'm not going to predict what the cabinet is going to look like. But I will tell you this those Scottish Labour MPs will be a powerful voice for Scotland, but so will I.

“Because the whole Labour Government will want to deliver for Scotland and that starts with me. That's why I've spent so much time in Scotland, why we've worked so closely together for Scotland.

“So this isn't something which comes only through the Scottish Labour MPs but it does come from them because they will be powerful advocates making the case in positions across a Labour government.

“But it starts at the top. It starts with me. I want to start delivering for Scotland from day one in government.”


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He said voters had to choose between him and Rishi Sunak.

"[The election] is a straight choice between more of the Tories or a Labour government. That is the choice. There's no other choice on the ballot paper.

"There are only two people who are going to be prime minister, will likely be prime minister on Friday morning, Rishi Sunak or me.

“That is the choice and so across Scotland that is what needs to be upper mind in people's minds.

“If you want to see the back of the Tories, you have to vote Labour and there are many constituencies here in Scotland, that are going to come down to a few hundred votes.

“They're really tight. You've seen the polling, you've seen how tight it is. So every vote matters. And that is the choice that's on offer.”

(Image: Gordon Terris/H&T)

In his eve of poll rally, Mr Swinney told supporters in Leith that Labour would win “and Keir Starmer will be Prime Minister.”

“The only story left in this election is here in Scotland, where seats across the country are on a knife-edge," he added.

“There are seats which could be decided by only a handful of votes – that is why it is so important for people to use their vote and make Scotland’s voice heard. It could make all the difference.”

The First Minister said Sir Keir was “committed to carrying on where the Tories left off – with £18 billion of austerity cuts, opening the door to NHS privatisation and continuing with the cruel Tory two-child cap which is keeping thousands of children in poverty.

“The SNP offers a different approach – a vision of hope where we can end austerity, support our NHS, eradicate child poverty and have a future made in Scotland, for Scotland, with independence.

“That is on offer at the election today – but we have to vote for it.”

The SNP were given a last-minute boost by a new Scotland-wide poll putting them ahead of Labour.

The Savanta survey for the Scotsman suggested Labour win the support of 31% of Scots voters, behind the SNP on 34%.

According to analysis by Professor Sir John Curtice, that would see Labour win 22 Scottish MPs while the SNP will keep 24.


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Meanwhile, Mr Sunak insisted he was still working for every vote. He distanced himself from Mr Stride's reluctant acceptance that it was "highly unlikely" the opinion polls were "very, very wrong."

The Prime Minister told the PA: “This election is ongoing. I am campaigning hard for every vote.”

He added: “In terms of how I do this job, I work as hard as I can, I do what I believe is right for the country.

“That ‘clear conscience is the softest pillow’, as my father-in-law says.

“As long as I can look myself in the mirror and know that I am working as hard as I can, doing what I believe is right for the country, that is how I get through, and that is what I believe I am doing.”

(Image: James Manning/PA Wire)

However, according to a report in the Guardian, the Prime Minister has told friends he is worried about losing his own seat.

A Prime Minister has never been unseated at an election, and Mr Sunak won a majority of over 27,000 in Richmond in 2019 taking 63% of the vote.

North of the border, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said he thought his party could benefit from tactical voting.

He said: “Throughout this campaign, I have met former SNP voters disillusioned with the scandals and their mishandling of public services.

“I have met Labour and Conservative voters who are backing the Liberal Democrats this time because they recognise that a handful of votes in key seats could make the difference.

“From Cupar to Cape Wrath, Milngavie to Mallaig, Cramond to Kirkwall, the Scottish Liberal Democrats have beaten the SNP before and we can do it again.”

The Scottish Greens said their supporters needed to “vote like our future depends on it.”

Patrick Harvie said: “The next five years will be critical for our climate, our nature and our planet. Getting rid of the Tories is crucial, but we don’t just need a change in government, we need a change in politics.”

Alba Party leader Alex Salmond said his campaign would “come to fruition in the Scottish elections of 2026, with the compelling power of our case that a majority vote for independence parties on the list should become the mandate for independence.”