Murphy attacks ‘hardline’ Scottish Tories

By Alex Stevenson

Jim Murphy accused Scottish Conservatives of being among the most “hardline” in David Cameron’s party in his speech to the Labour party conference.

The Scottish secretary completely ignored the Scottish National party (SNP) in his Brighton speech, focusing on the Tories as “Mrs Thatcher’s grandchildren”.

“Of course Labour will cut costs, but we’ll protect frontline services,” he said. “However, the Tories would make savage cuts immediately, they would risk the recovery.

“Because they believe in small government; in the politics of sink or swim and in the politics of you’re on your own.”

Iain Gray, Labour’s leader in the Scottish parliament, went on the offensive against both Mr Cameron and the SNP’s first minister Alex Salmond.

He began by claiming the Tories had not changed, referring to their alliance with far-right parties in the European parliament.

“In Scotland we are not surprised at the company Tories keep. We have watched them nuzzling up to the nationalist government from day one,” he said.

He added: “In Scotland, we do not have to imagine a leader who will say anything, promise everything and be whatever you want to get into office. We already have Alex Salmond.”

Mr Gray called for Mr Salmond to hold televised debates with him and dismissed the SNP as being a “campaign” rather than a government.

“Alex Salmond is not taking my country forward – he is dragging it back,” he warned.

“That’s what happens when Labour loses power.”