Labour admits meltdown in crucial election seats
LABOUR is set to lose some of its key battleground constituencies, according to senior campaign figures who fear the party is facing a meltdown of popular support ahead of May's Scottish elections.
The totemic seat of Glasgow Govan - the scene of the SNP's most celebrated victories - is among several key seats which Labour insiders fear are already lost amid signs the party's traditional supporters are deserting them in droves.
Key marginals in Dundee, Edinburgh, Dumfries and in rural Scotland are also slipping away, they fear.
Such is the shift of support that SNP leader Alex Salmond is understood to have ordered his own polling figures in the key constituencies to be downplayed for fear it will lead to complacency. One source said Labour had all but given up in some areas where previously it felt it had a strong chance.
"Dundee West is a goner, that is a given. We have already decided there's no hope. Ochil is pretty bad too. We don't think we're going to get it back."
Another source close to the Labour campaign said Glasgow Govan, where former SNP MPs Jim Sillars and Margo MacDonald scored historic victories for the SNP, was also heading back to the Nationalists.
In the last two elections, Labour beat the SNP challenge for the seat, but one insider said: "There isn't much local support for [sitting MSP Gordon Jackson]. It looks like we're going to lose it."
The SNP is also believed to be performing strongly in the two marginal seats of Kilmarnock and Loudoun, and Cumbernauld and Kilsyth.
There are also warnings that Labour is under severe pressure from the Lib Dems and the Tories: junior minister Sarah Boyack is under threat from the Lib Dems in Edinburgh Central, and in Dumfries MSP Elaine Murray is facing a strong Conservative challenge.
In both cases, Labour campaign chiefs warn the full-frontal attack on the SNP is diverting attention away from the main threat.
One source said: "It's typical Jack: attack the Nats and just hope it works out. But they are not the main challenge in most of the Central Belt, for example. It's those Libs we have to watch out for there."
The Lib Dems are even confident of striking some shock victories against Labour, such as in Greenock and Inverclyde.
Constituencies at risk
Labour won 37% of the vote, compared to the SNP's 31% in 2003. Labour's Gordon Jackson again goes head to head with SNP deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon.
Labour are clinging on by just over 1,000 seats in one of the SNP's most targeted seats.
Labour has just a 3% majority over the Tories with sitting MSP Elaine Murray up against deputy Presiding Officer Murray Tosh.
Labour's Sarah Boyack's seat is number one on the Lib Dem hit list. It would, however, require a near 5% swing to win.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Thursday 20 June 2013
Temperature: 11 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 11 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West