Page last updated at 16:19 GMT, Thursday, 15 April 2010 17:19 UK

Volcanic ash hits UK election campaigning in Scotland

Volcanic ash
The volcanic plume caused disruption to election campaign events

The political parties pressed ahead with a day of election campaigning in Scotland, despite the volcanic ash cloud causing travel chaos.

With UK flights suspended, visits by Lib Dem and Labour veterans Vince Cable and Bob Ainsworth were called off.

However the Tories' Ken Clarke managed to make it north of the border for an afternoon visit.

The main four parties in Scotland, including the SNP, campaigned on support for jobs and businesses.

The flight cancellations were forced by dust from a volcanic eruption in Iceland.

Tim Reid
Lib Dems confirm their candidate fighting Alistair Darling in Edin SW is in Australia and missing 1st part of #ukelection campaign
BBC's Tim Reid

Speaking as he campaigned in the Tories' Perth and North Perthshire target seat, former UK Chancellor Mr Clarke said the Conservatives had the ideas to lead the country out of recession, while Labour was stuck in the past.

He added: "We will dismantle Labour's tax on jobs, we will tackle Labour's debt, we will fight to restore trust in politics and we will tackle our broken society.

"Over the next few days, my colleagues here will outline our manifesto for Scotland - a programme that will strike a chord with voters the length and breadth of the land."

'Clear danger'

Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy visited Carnegie College's Rosyth Campus in Fife, which plays a key training role in the area's engineering sector, including the Rosyth dockyard.

He reiterated Labour's pledge to create a million high-skilled jobs - 100,000 of them in Scotland - as he promised a "renewed prosperity", should his party win the election on 6 May.

Nicol Stephen and Ken Clark composit
Nicol Stephen was in Dunfermline and Ken Clarke was in Perth

Campaigning in the Dunfermline and West Fife seat, Mr Murphy said: "No other party can be trusted to keep Britain on the road to recovery - the Tories are a clear and present danger to Scottish jobs and the SNP have been responsible for a jobs slump in Scotland by cancelling vital construction projects like the Glasgow Airport Rail Link."

Former Scottish Lib Dem leader, Nicol Stephen, was also on the streets of Dunfermline and West Fife to call on banks to start lending to successful businesses.

Speaking with candidate Willie Rennie at a local motorbike business, Mr Stephen said: "Taxpayers already own massive stakes in many high street banks but those banks still won't meet their own legally binding targets for lending.

"Labour has turned a blind eye to bad banking practice.

"Liberal Democrats would force state-backed banks like RBS and HBOS to start lending - if they didn't meet our binding new targets, the board of directors would be held responsible and fired."

Jim Murphy and Nicola Sturgeon composit
Jim Murphy and Nicola Sturgeon were on election duty

Meanwhile, SNP deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon visited Alloa Athletic football club, on course for promotion to the Scottish first division, urging voters to back a "winning SNP team".

Campaigning with Ochil candidate Annabelle Ewing, Ms Sturgeon said planned spending cuts by Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems would be "disastrous" for Scotland's economic recovery.

The Scottish deputy first minister, said: "Alloa Athletic are a great example of local champions and are already at the heart of their community.

"Now, more than ever, Scotland needs a strong team to stand up against the common cuts agendas of the London parties.

"While London politicians are sitting in party headquarters rehearsing for sterile leaders debates, the SNP is out in our communities speaking to local people."



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