Politicians such as Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross and new Alba Party leader Alex Salmond are using the Holyrood election to focus on their egos and on “trying to settle scores”, Labour’s Anas Sarwar has insisted.
The Scottish Labour leader was withering about his political rivals as he insisted the May 6 ballot should be regarded as a “wartime election”.
Mr Sarwar said: “I don’t think the electorate would appreciate political parties playing games at a time of national emergency.
“We are in the midst of a pandemic, this is not a normal election, this is a pandemic election, in many ways a wartime election.
“What people would expect is not politicians playing games, not politicians focusing on egos, not politicians focusing on old arguments or trying to settle scores.”
His comments come in the wake of former first minister Alex Salmond announcing his plans for a dramatic return to the Scottish Parliament as leader of the new pro-independence Alba Party.
Speaking about the new party, Mr Sarwar said: “This is an attempt to settle scores, to seek revenge and about individual people’s egos.
“Our politics is much better than that – or at least has to be much better than that.
“I want no part of that kind of ego trip of one individual, because our recovery is more important than the psychodrama of Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon.
“I have no time for these egos and personalities and the settling of old arguments. We need a relentless focus on a national recovery instead.”
Speaking about the poll on May 6, he said: “When I talk about it being a wartime election, I am talking about it being a war against poverty and against a virus that has decimated our country and challenged the very fabric of our society.”
With Mr Salmond hoping his new Alba Party can create a “super majority” of MSPs in favour of independence in the Scottish Parliament, Scottish Tory leader Mr Ross has been pressing Mr Sarwar to agree to a unionist pact to try to combat this.
The Scottish Labour leader, however, insisted their behaviour showed that Mr Ross, and also Mr Salmond, were treating “politics as a game”.
Mr Sarwar said: “This election is not a game, our Parliament is not a game, it is about focusing on what our priorities should be as a country and deciding what the focus of our Parliament should be for the next five years.”
He said he wanted to work “to bring our country together to focus on our national recovery” and to “not be distracted by those old arguments, egos and settling of scores”.
Mr Sarwar, who stressed he was opposed to a second independence referendum, continued: “My position on the constitution is absolutely clear and it is purely a game-playing exercise for Douglas Ross to try and project some other kind of position on the constitution.
“The reality is whether you were Yes or whether you were No, whether you were Leave or whether you were Remain, you have been equally impacted by this pandemic.
“What people need at this time of national crisis is for politicians to focus on people for a change and not focus on themselves and their own obsessions.”