Nicola Sturgeon accused of ‘rigging’ Scottish election as SNP makes campaigning ‘illegal’
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The crunch Holyrood elections are scheduled to take place on May 6 – subject to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and any issues that might materialise alongside that over the next three months. Scotland’s First Minister Ms Sturgeon has previously said she will push for a second referendum on Scottish independence if the SNP can gain a majority in the election – a move Prime Minister Boris Johnson has outright refused. Earlier this month, Mr Galloway signalled his intent after his new All for Unity political party was registered with the Electoral Commission, providing them with the go-ahead to appear on the ballot papers for the Holyrood elections.
The fierce critic of Ms Sturgeon and the SNP issued a “Save Our Scotland” plea as he urged people to back his growing movement ahead of the crunch elections on May 6.
But Mr Galloway is furious at what he claims is an unfair advantage the SNP has claimed in the weeks leading up to those elections.
Covid restrictions in Scotland have severely hampered opposition campaigns, with Ms Sturgeon appearing daily on weekdays on national television during her coronavirus briefings.
One person calling themselves an “anti-nationalist” on Twitter wrote: “The governing party in Scotland has made campaigning illegal before the election, while still having a daily TV slot for their leader.
“How can we go ahead with such an election?
“It would be a farce.”
Mr Galloway agreed, and fumed: “Why is this not obvious? They are rigging the election in front of our eyes.”
Speaking to Express.co.uk, the All for Unity leader also lashed out at what he claims is an unfair advantage the SNP has gained in the lead up to the Scottish elections.
He claimed the current Covid restrictions in Scotland mean he can barely campaign at all, while Ms Sturgeon can address the nation on a daily basis during her coronavirus briefings.
Mr Galloway has even suggested the Scottish elections should be postponed as a result, raging: “This is not a fair and free election”.
The veteran MP told this website: “All for Unity is off and running, but we are finding it predictably difficult to discover what you can do from a campaigning perspective.
“I have a soapbox, which it would seem, I’m not allowed to stand up on except in Parliament. I have speaking equipment I’m not allowed to speak through under the Covid regulations.
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“You are also not allowed to travel to any other places outside of your own locale. You are not allowed to deliver leaflets or canvas door-to-door.
“You can pay people to deliver leaflets and contract a company to do that, which is ridiculous. Those with plenty of money can pay people to deliver their leaflets.
“That begs the obvious question – if the opposition cannot campaign, then how can there be an election?
“Sturgeon is on live television, every weekday and has been for almost a year, whilst I’m not allowed to take my soapbox to the neighbouring town, stand in an open space and speak from it.
“This raises really important questions – if it is not safe to campaign, it can’t be safe to have an election.
“You either have to scrap these regulations, or postpone the election.
Mr Galloway concluded: “You can’t hamstring someone like me as my main strength is recognisability and my voice.
“That is our main electoral asset but now we are precluded from using it.
“The best way to test it is to go out and do it, but what if that leads to arrests and prosecution, which would be electorally damaging.
“This is not a free and fair election.”
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