Every vote in support of the SNP is a vote for another independence referendum, Nicola Sturgeon said as she visited Fife for the second time in a week.
The First Minister used her St Andrews Day speech in North East Fife – the UK’s most marginal constituency – to tell voters the “future of Scotland is on the line”.
“Everyone here will be familiar with the Declaration of Arbroath – one of the most famous statements of self-determination ever written,” she told party faithful during her address at the Buchanan Lecture Theatre.
“The declaration said the people of Scotland would be under the protection of ‘the most gentle St Andrew’ as ‘their patron forever’.
“Next year will be the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath and of St Andrew officially becoming Scotland’s patron saint.
“Wouldn’t it be fitting for modern Scotland to declare our wish to join the independent countries of the world during that 700th anniversary.”
The First Minister went on to tell those present all elections are important “but this one really matters”.
“The future of Scotland is on the line. Who should decide our future – the people who live here or Boris Johnson?
“The answer to that question will have long-term consequences for the kind of country we will be.
“It seems right that on this, the day of Scotland’s patron saint, we ask ourselves how we can build that better, fairer Scotland we know is possible.”
She also claimed that the Conservative Party posed the biggest threat to Scotland’s NHS since it was founded just over 70 years ago, adding Boris Johnson’s Brexit plan would make it harder to attract health staff from Europe.
“Compared with EU membership his deal could cut Scotland’s national income by £9 billion by the end of the next decade.
“If Boris Johnson takes Scotland and the UK out of the EU with no trade deal at all next year, which is looking increasingly likely, the cost could be £12.7 billion.
“That’s the equivalent of around £2,300 per person in Scotland.”
The First Minister was introduced on stage by North east Fife candidate Stephen Gethins, who is facing strong opposition from the Liberal Democrat candidate Wendy Chamberlain, in a battlet many predict is too close to call.
Mr Gethins said a lot changed since 2017, when he pipped the Lib Dems by just two votes.
He said: “We’ve got the backing of many Greens and Lib Dem voters including the former Fife Provost and Liberal councillor of more than 30 years, Frances Melville which is the sort of support we are seeing reflected on the doorsteps.
“There have been some interesting opinion polls this week but we know full well opinions polls are not election results so we will continue to promote our message to voters right up to election day.”