The SNP aim to capitalise on Labour’s crumbling election campaign in these last few days before the country goes to the polls. With figures showing the SNP back in a secure second place after the LibDems debate boost faded, leader Alex Salmond will kick off the last week of campaigning by appearing in the BBC’s Scottish leaders debate tonight at 21:00.
The SNP leader has opted to appear after the party’s bid to be included in the last of the main debates alongside Cameron, Brown and Clegg was rejected. The exposure afforded the three London party leaders has led to the SNP being marginalised in the media coverage. However the SNP leader has promised to counter the broadcasting exclusions with the most active ground campaign in Scotland.
After the debate Mr Salmond will embark on a whistle stop tour of Scottish constituencies including Dundee West, Ochil, Stirling and Falkirk.
Mr Salmond said:
"The next few days present a massive opportunity for the SNP and for Scotland. The whole basis of Labour's campaign in Scotland has unravelled as their campaign collapses south of the border and voters desert them.
"Their entire strategy in Scotland has been based on stopping the Tories by returning a Labour Government at Westminster, but now that they are obviously a busted flush at UK level their Scottish vote is extremely vulnerable.
"The SNP is best placed to seize on that vulnerability, because we have moved back into a clear second place in the Scottish opinion polls, overtaking the LibDems after the temporary bounce they got from the TV leaders' debates."
The First Minister added: "The LibDems have not been able to sustain that advantage here in Scotland and their support is now evaporating. The SNP is the now party which is best placed to make a real surge in the final days of the campaign and our sights are set on catching Labour. We were shut out of the air war but our ground campaign in the next few days will be the most active in Scotland.
"We are asking the voters who are deserting Labour not just to sit at home, but to come out and vote for SNP local and national champions who will help protect their communities and the country as a whole from the savage cuts agenda of all the London parties.
"Labour, the Tories and the Liberals all plan to slash funding to vital public services in Scotland. But it is now a near certainty that there will be a balanced parliament, which will mean that every single vote in the House of Commons will count.
"That means a strong bloc of SNP MPs, along with our Welsh allies in Plaid Cymru, can help protect our nations from the cuts agenda of the London parties. In the last few days of this campaign, there is everything to play for in Scotland - and if Scots voters want a balanced parliament, redolent with opportunity for Scotland, they should vote SNP."