United Kingdom election: Sturgeon plays down Tory threat in Scotland

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Maybe we are simply discovering that voters in Scotland are just not so keen on voting for the SNP in local elections - as was the case for Westminster elections until the party's 2015 success.

But a recent surge in support for the Scottish Conservatives could make that success hard to repeat.

Following the local elections which saw the SNP come out as the largest party across Scotland's local authorities, the SNP leader warned Prime Minister Theresa May that her flirtation with Ukip voters in England to pursue a hard negotiating stance with the European Union will result in the "sacrifice of thousands of Scottish jobs".

Launching his campaign to be re-elected, Salmond said: "I stand for re-election on my record, on the need to provide real opposition to the Tory government and to protect our own Scottish Parliament as the place to decide Scotland's future".

"Now more than ever before there is a need to send strong voices for Scotland to stop the Tories from doing whatever they like".

The Tories' share of the vote in Scotland was no better than Labour's in England, which was regarded as a "disaster" for Mr Corbyn, she said.

The latest PA general election projection also had the Conservatives well ahead with 381 projected seats and Labour on 181.

The SNP remains the largest party in local government in Scotland, with 431 councillors voted into office, up slightly from the total of 425 in 2012. "And people across this country don't take kindly to Nicola Sturgeon pretending the opposite is true". "It's time to focus on this crucial general election campaign - and we can take absolutely nothing for granted", May will tell the event on Monday.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said the selection of Mr McDougall shows that her party is "fighting hard to deliver a Labour government on the side of working people".

All in all, there is little in these local election results to suggest that Labour is on course to reverse the losses it suffered at the hands of the SNP in its Clydeside heartland two years ago.

Moray MP, Angus Robertson, welcomed the Greens' announcement, saying: "This outlines the election as a two horse race between the SNP and the Tories. Labour is collapsing but the SNP is dedicated to standing up for Scotland".

"The results like this across Scotland are a real springboard to beat the SNP where we are challenging them on 8 June", he said.

"The day after my party has won by a considerable margin more votes, more seats and more councils than any other party and improved our position on the last council election, I think I'm reasonably entitled to feel quite optimistic as we go into the next contest". "A vote for any other party simply risks letting the SNP back in, and increases the risk of another unwanted referendum".