Voting For A New Britain: Campaigns Briefing Final Day Today

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The Independent Online
IN THE final burst of campaigning, politicians vied for links with Scottish success. Labour wheeled out Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager. In a ringing endorsement, he urged voters to emulate his own ambition and "make it a hat-trick for Labour". The party's fear is that traditional supporters may be mistaken into thinking their second vote has to go to a rival.

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ALEX SALMOND, the Scottish National Party leader, attacked Labour's use of the Private Finance Initiative by twisting the words of the Manchester United boss. "The real hat-trick is Labour's plans to privatise schools, hospitals and homes," Mr Salmond said as he visited an Edinburgh hospital's ear, nose and throat department. The unit is due to be rehoused in the new pounds 180m Royal Infirmary being built under PFI.

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LABOUR CAME under attack from the Conservatives on law and order, with the Scottish Tory leader, David McLetchie, accusing it of a "soft-bellied" attitude. The number of police officers had been cut by 100 in the Strathclyde area and crime in Scotland was up by as much as 13 per cent, he said.

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ABOLITION OF council tax should be a priority of the Edinburgh Parliament, Tommy Sheridan, leader of the Scottish Socialists, declared. Mr Sheridan, famously sent to prison for refusing to pay his poll tax, said if the SSP won seats it would immediately put forward legislation to scrap the tax and replace it with a charge on the rich. A Holyrood seat for Mr Sheridan is a possibility from his party list under the PR system.

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FARMERS IN Brecon and Radnorshire had to fork out 19p postage and a 20p surcharge when a Liberal Democrat mail shot arrived in unstamped envelopes.

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