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Howard: Conservatives will keep historic Scottish regiments

Speech in Edinburgh

"It's wonderful to be here in Edinburgh today.

For the last few weeks, Conservative candidates have been setting out our action plan for Scotland.

Two issues stand out.

First there is the question of tax. And second, Scotland's historic infantry regiments.

They've both been tests of Mr. Blair's character.

In 1997 Mr Blair promised that he would not put up tax at all.

And what did he do? He put up taxes in his first budget.

In 2001 Mr. Blair was at it again - telling people they shouldn't suppose he would put up National Insurance Contributions.

And what did he do? In his very first budget he put up National Insurance.

Hardworking Scots have had their taxes increased 66 times.

That's 66 broken promises Mr. Blair - and that's why your character is an issue at this election.

And he's at it again.

Virtually every independent commentator agrees that if Mr. Blair gets in again taxes will go up again.

But can he bring himself to admit it?

No.

He's got away with it twice before and he thinks he can pull his con trick off for a third time.

What does he take Scottish voters for - idiots?

The truth is Mr. Blair says one thing before an election, and does quite another thing after it.

And what have Labour MPs elected to represent Scottish constituencies - Scottish interests - done?

They've voted for Mr. Blair's tax increases.

I've got a simple message for hardworking families - families who do the right thing, play by the rules and pay their dues: you don't have to settle for this.

May the fifth is your chance to tell Mr. Blair where to get off.

Vote Conservative for value for money and lower taxes.

Vote Conservative to abolish Stamp Duty on every home worth less than £250,000 - four out of five Scottish homes will Stamp Duty free.

And vote Conservative to boost savings for pensions - for every £100 you save, a Conservative Government will put an extra £10 into your pension pot.

With a Conservative Government if you do the right thing, we'll do the right thing by you; if you work hard we'll reward your efforts; and if you help yourself, we'll help you.

But this election is about more than fairer taxes.

It's about our values and our traditions.

Scotland is rightly proud of her regiments - their history, traditions and, above all, the courage and bravery of their soldiers.

But Mr. Blair does not share that pride.

He has sent Scottish regiments into battle, only to tell them that they will be disbanded.

What a stab in the back.

That's wrong.

And that's why a Conservative Government will give keep Scotland's historic regiments.

And in the days ahead, when you weigh up how you vote, remember this.

Remember what Mr. Blair said to get elected and what he has done in government.

Mr Blair didn't tell us before the last election that he would raise taxes.

And he didn't tell you before he sent your soldiers to war, that he would scrap historic Scottish regiments.

Mr. Blair thinks he can get away with it again.

Why? Because he knows however much the SNP or Liberal Democrats might campaign on issues in Scotland, they can't deliver at Westminster.

Well I believe in telling it straight.

That may mean ruffling a few feathers.

But I'm not afraid to say it as it is.

And you shouldn't be either.

May the fifth is your opportunity to take a stand on the things that matter.

You can vote for Conservative candidates in Scotland who will take a stand on the issues that matter - controlled immigration, school discipline, cleaner hospitals, lower taxes, more police, and of course your historic regiments.

You can vote SNP or Liberal Democrat for parties that campaign but can't deliver at Westminster.

Or you can vote Labour to reward Mr. Blair for eight years of broken promises.

It's time for Scotland to take a stand - it's time to vote Conservative. "

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