Jim Murphy cancels leave after SNP wipeout poll

Labour leader Jim Murphy visits 6VT Youth Cafe in Edinburgh yesterday. Picture: Contributed

Labour leader Jim Murphy visits 6VT Youth Cafe in Edinburgh yesterday. Picture: Contributed

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JIM Murphy has cancelled parliamentary leave for his shadow cabinet and sent them out campaigning as Scottish Labour attempts to recover from a devastating poll last week.

The Scottish Labour leader has ordered a dramatic acceleration of his party’s campaigning schedule in an attempt to win back ground lost to the SNP.

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With Lord Ashcroft’s poll predicting that Labour would lose 35 of its 41 Scottish seats to the SNP, Murphy has called on his troops to start campaigning as if the general election was just a week away.

Murphy also appeared to attempt to move away from Labour’s line of characterising the election as a fight between David Cameron and Ed ­Miliband.

The change of tone came just a few days after Miliband came to Scotland and suggested that the election was a presidential-style personality contest between himself and the sitting prime minister.

Murphy announced he was launching the biggest social media campaign that Labour has ever seen to promote the message that voting SNP would result in a Tory ­government.

Following the Ashcroft finding that just 38 per cent of people said they were dissatisfied with Cameron, Murphy was asked if Labour’s message referred to Tories rather than Cameron.

Murphy replied: “Our private focus groups show that the vote Tory thing has a much greater resonance, because vote Tory resurrects the memory of Mrs Thatcher much more than David Cameron does. That’s the truth. Amongst working class Scots the word Tory is associated with Mrs Thatcher more so than David Cameron is.”

With the parliament in recess this week, Murphy said his shadow cabinet would be leading activists in a bid to knock on between 45,000 and 50,000 doors.

Murphy said: “The poll this week from Ashcroft was really very bad for the Scottish ­Labour party. There is no getting away from that.”

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