Labour set to lose Alistair Darling seat to SNP

Alistair Darling's once-safe Labour seat is set to fall to the SNP. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Alistair Darling's once-safe Labour seat is set to fall to the SNP. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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LABOUR is set to lose Alistair Darling’s seat to the SNP in a massive swing to the Nationalists, according to a poll.

The former chancellor – who had an 8447 majority last time – is standing down as MP for Edinburgh South West at the general election in May.

A survey of 1000 people in the constituency has found a 22 per cent swing from Labour to the SNP, giving the Nationalists a 13 per cent lead.

It would mean SNP candidate, lawyer Joanna Cherry, being elected as the MP with 40 per cent of the vote, while Labour’s Ricky Henderson, a long-serving councillor for the area, got 27 per cent. The Conservatives would take 19 per cent of the votes and the Liberal Democrats four per cent.

The Edinburgh South-West survey is part of the latest batch of constituency polls published by Tory peer Lord Ashcroft.

They also show the SNP would win Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, where Gordon Brown is standing down, with a 28.5 per cent swing from Labour, and Liberal Democrat Charles Kennedy’s seat in Ross, Skye and Lochaber with a 21.5 per cent swing.

According to the polls, Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy has a lead of just one per cent over the SNP in his East Renfrewshire constituency.

The Tories’ solitary Scottish MP, David Mundell is tied in a dead heat with the SNP in Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale.

Edinburgh South West recorded a 38 per cent Yes vote in last year’s independence referendum.

Ms Cherry, said she was not taking anything for granted. She said: “There is a long way to go between now and polling day and I am working hard to demonstrate to the people in Edinburgh South West how voting SNP in May will give the people of Scotland real power at Westminster.

“Alistair Darling was at the forefront of the No campaign and for many symbolises Labour’s disastrous toxic alliance with the Tories.

“Many people have told me on doorsteps that the sight of Mr Darling getting a standing ovation at the Tory conference was enough for them to say they will never vote Labour again. People see the SNP as the only party with Scotland at heart.

“People want to empower Scotland, and they want to vote positively for a party 100 per cent focused on Scottish interests – and see the SNP as the only party which stands for that.”

Cllr Henderson said Labour was aware of the challenge it faced to contest the seat.

“We know it’s going to be a tough fight,” he said. “We’re aware the SNP is doing well in the opinion polls, but as the old cliche has it, the only important poll is on the day.

“We’ve had good feedback on the doorstep. The reception is pretty positive.

“It’s up to me and my team to fight for every vote and persuade people voting Labour is the best thing to do.”