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Monday, May 3, 1999 Published at 13:52 GMT 14:52 UK

Findlay joins Tory election trail

Donald Findlay is backing the Tories' Holyrood campaign

An architect of the campaign against devolution has joined the Tories' election fight as the parties begin their final onslaught ahead of Thursday's polls.

Donald Findlay, who led the Think Twice campaign before the 1997 devolution referendum, called on Scots to preserve the union and vote Tory in the Scottish parliamentary and local government elections.

The leading defence QC and Rangers vice-chairman said defeat for the No No strategy in the referendum did not mean the unionist cause was lost and instead of thinking twice, Scots should now vote "Three Times Tory".

[ image: The Tories' opponents launched a Yes Yes campaign in 1997]
The Tories' opponents launched a Yes Yes campaign in 1997
Mr Findlay, who joined Scottish Tory leader David McLetchie at the party's Monday media conference, said those who voted against devolution should not be disillusioned and still had a role to play in stopping the break-up of the United Kingdom.

He said: "There may be a lot of people around Scotland who, because they didn't want the new parliament in the first place and voted against the devolution think their best course would be to simply not vote at all in Thursday's elections.

"My message to them is that nothing could be further from the truth.

"Now the parliament is a reality I urge them to think again and to get out to their polling stations to register themselves Three Times a Tory."

With three days of campaigning left, the Scottish National Party focused again on the Private Finance Initiative and what they claim is privatisation of health, hospital and housing services.

Party Leader Alex Salmond said Labour had witheld a review of PFI until the "day after polling day".

He said: "The circumstances are that this report is apparently damning about the Private Finance Initiative in terms of its cost and the government's claims for it and it is being suppressed until after the elections."

Serious questions

Labour posed what it said were 10 serious questions about Scottish citizenship and how the SNP's plans for independence could affect that.

Spokesman Brian Fitzpatrick said the nationalists must explain what criteria they would set for Scottish citizenship and justify the costs and "bureaucratic hurdles" some Scots would have to face.

He said: "These will be the questions the Scottish people need answered before polling day. When they will face a clear choice between a Labour parliament delivering for Scotland and the SNP's plans for a messy and expensive divorce."

Meanwhile, the Scottish Liberal Democrats said they can win everywhere under the new two-part voting system.

Speaking in Aberdeen, party leader Jim Wallace said: "In the last week of the campaign, we are fighting for every vote in every part of Scotland - and this time the new fair voting system means that we can win in every part of Scotland."

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