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Davidson pledges to break up ‘Labour-SNP stranglehold’

The Herald reports that the leader of the Scottish Conservatives argued that electing her party to be opposition in the Scottish Parliament would introduce a “genuine clash of ideas” to politics north of the border.

Speaking in Ayr, Ruth Davidson accused Labour of failing to challenge the SNP on a range of issues, especially the increasingly controversial and unpopular ‘Named Person’ scheme.

In her column for this site last week, she set out in detail how both Labour and the Nationalists planned to use Holyrood’s new tax powers in ways which would render Scotland uncompetitive.

However, other parties attacked Tory proposals to introduce “backdoor tuition fees”, claiming they were part of a “hidden tax plan”.

Whilst coming second would be a superb result, the Conservatives’ primary goal next month is winning 20 seats, their best-ever result.

Hoey claims court case might be needed to win Labour candidates right to stand in Northern Ireland

It may take a legal challenge to force Labour to contest elections in all four corners of the United Kingdom, according to one of its MPs.

According to the News Letter Kate Hoey, the Ulster-born MP for Vauxhall and head of Labour Leave, made her remarks after the central party once again denied its local activists the opportunity to stand.

Labour has traditionally resisted organising in Ulster due to its links with the nationalist SDLP, which returns three MPs. It has an active and sizeable local branch regardless, after admitting Northern Irish members in 2003.

She also joined Owen Paterson, the former Northern Irish Secretary, on the streets of Belfast to campaign for Brexit this week.

Dugdale takes friendly fire over suggestion she might back independence

Tom Harris, the former Labour MP and minister, has attacked the leader of Scottish Labour for suggesting that she might back Scottish independence in the event of Brexit.

Speaking to PoliticsHome Harris, who is now the Scottish director of Vote Leave, claimed she was “making a major mistake in trying to make the EU referendum a proxy for Scottish independence”.

Dugdale seemed to row back from her remarks afterwards, prompting Sturgeon to accuse her of “u-turning”.

The possible impact of Brexit on the integrity of the Union has been written about elsewhere on this site.

DUP warn of ‘chaos’ if they come second to Sinn Fein

Nigel Dodds, the First Minister of Northern Ireland, has warned of “chaos” if the Democratic Unionists don’t come first in next month’s provincial elections, the News Letter reports.

The Belfast North MP was trying to corral unionist voters behind his party, hoping to repeat their 2011 performance when fear of Sinn Fein drove the DUP to a great result.

Meanwhile Arlene Foster, the First Minister, unveiled the DUP’s ambitious bid to win back a seat for unionism in Belfast West, which has been without a single pro-Union MLA since Diane Dodds lost her seat in 2007.

Replacing the long-standing and unpopular Peter Robinson, Foster has become a focal point of the DUP campaign.

Sturgeon feels the heat over ‘secret’ China deal

The First Minister of Scotland was accused this week of trying to keep secret the terms of an agreement struck between the Scottish Government and a Chinese consortium.

Despite being signed before the ‘purdah’ period that precedes next month’s election, the administration did not make details of the deal public and told The Sun it would need to make a Freedom of Information request.

This apparent secrecy prompted a backlash both from the opposition and the press, especially due to the current focus Chinese commercial practices in the steel industry.

Jones calls for UK Government to take over Port Talbot steelworks

The First Minister of Wales used a special session of the Assembly to urge the Government to take over and operate the Tata steelworks until a new buyer could be found, according to Wales Online.

He argued that whilst the Welsh government was prepared to contribute funds, it did not have the financial means to underwrite the plant on its own.

Elsewhere, ministers in his administration were criticised for using taxpayer-funded limousines to make very short journeys.

UKIP select Scottish candidates amidst ‘stitch-up’ allegations

The UK Independence Party has unveiled its candidates for May’s elections to the Scottish Parliament, but have followed their Welsh comrades by having a row over selections.

UKIP have opted only to contest the regional list seats, rather than spend resources on individual constituency races, and are running 26 candidates in all.

However, the leadership faced a backlash over claims that senior members had been “parachuted” into regions they didn’t live in and that David Coburn, the party’s Scottish MEP, had been given carte blanche to select and rank candidates.

Several members selected as candidates dropped out close to the deadline, leaving the People’s Army with four candidates on some lists but only three in others.

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