A former minister in Tony Blair’s government has revealed he has voted for the Scottish Conservatives in this week’s crucial Holyrood election.
Tom Harris said he voted tactically when he gave his support to the Tories in the regional section of the ballot paper.
Mr Harris, who was the Labour MP for Glasgow Cathcart from 2001 to 2015 but later left the party, wrote in the Scottish Daily Mail that backing the Conservatives on the list ballot is “a small price to pay if it helps elect one more pro-UK MSP in place of either of the nationalist parties hoping for success in Glasgow, the Greens and Alex Salmond’s Alba”.
It came as Ruth Davidson, the former Scottish Conservative leader who is now leaving Holyrood for the House of Lords, made a last-ditch plea to supporters of other parties to back the Tories with their second vote in a bid to stop an SNP majority and prevent Nicola Sturgeon from being able to hold another independence referendum.
Ms Davidson appealed to people who “don’t for a second” consider themselves Conservatives to back her party “even if it’s the most difficult decision you’ve ever had to make”.
She insisted Scots face a “choice of two stark futures – referendum or recovery”.
While the SNP is certain to be the largest party at Holyrood after Thursday, it is not clear if it will be able to win an overall majority of MSPs in the 129-seat Scottish Parliament.
With less than 24 hours to go before polls open, Ms Davidson wrote in the Scottish Daily Mail: “Our recovery rests on stopping that SNP majority and preventing another referendum.
“If the pro-UK vote sticks together behind the biggest opposition party, the Scottish Conservatives, we can stop an SNP majority.
“We all want the same thing – to stop indyref2 so we can get Scotland focused 100% on the recovery from Covid.
“But to get it, we all need to vote the same way this time with our peach ballot papers. So please – no matter what your usual political colour is – make your vote really count towards stopping an SNP majority and indyref2.
“Even if you don’t for a second consider yourself a Conservative. Even if it’s the most difficult decision you’ve ever had to make.
“For one election only, I’m asking that you please put aside your usual party loyalties. No matter how you vote in your constituency, that list vote is your secret weapon against an SNP majority.”