Labour prepares ‘rescue package’ of Scottish seats

THE Labour party has drawn up a “rescue package” of crucial 12 Scottish seats that it must win to stand a chance of forming a government after this week’s general election.
Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy sings with Mathew Gibb as Gordon Brown looks on at Braehead Shopping Centre. Picture: PAScottish Labour leader Jim Murphy sings with Mathew Gibb as Gordon Brown looks on at Braehead Shopping Centre. Picture: PA
Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy sings with Mathew Gibb as Gordon Brown looks on at Braehead Shopping Centre. Picture: PA

It comes as Nicola Sturgeon suggests that Labour has “given up entirely” on Scotland, failing to eat into the SNP poll lead. The First Minister will today launch a final surge on Labour seats in the central Scotland battleground. Opinion polls suggest Labour faces a wipeout of its 41 seats in Scotland.

With four days to go before the vote on Thursday, party officials have decided to focus all their attention on just 12 seats where they believe they “still have a fighting chance to win”.

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The seats are Aberdeen South, Edinburgh East, Edinburgh South, Edinburgh South West, East Lothian, Dunfermline and West Fife, Glenrothes, Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, Scottish leader Jim Murphy’s East Renfrewshire seat, Rutherglen and Hamilton West and Midlothian.

Poll of pollsPoll of polls
Poll of polls

Yesterday a senior Scottish Labour figure said: “We think we are going to pick up a significant number of seats from the Tories in places like the northwest of England but the Tories themselves are more likely to gain from a collapse in the Lib Dem vote and regain seats they used to hold.

“This means that by any calculation we have to save some of our Scottish seats and we have identified 12 where we still have a fighting chance and where all the resources are going in the last week.”

Another party figure acknowledged that the Labour vote appeared to have evaporated in many formerly safe seats and that Labour candidates would need the support of an anti-nationalist alliance to ensure victory. “Basically we need tactical voting from Tories and Lib Dems in these seats,” the insider said. “It looks as though as many as one in four may vote tactically and if they do we can hold on and save some of our seats from the SNP.”

However, another candidate noted that if turnout rises to around 75 per cent in Scotland, “then we are all toast and the SNP will win everywhere”.

Meanwhile Sturgeon claims in an article for Scotland on Sunday today that half a million Scots who voted labour i the last UK election are now shifting to the SNP.

She will be in Lanarkshire today where the SNP is poised to make sweeping gains from Labour as part of an “unprecedented surge of activity” being undertaken by the Nationalists over the weekend. More than 600 street stalls will be held by the party on Sunday, with one million “give away” items of SNP merchandise, while the party says it will complete 1.5 million voter conversations with SNP canvassers this weekend.

A SNP campaign source said: “Thursday is the greatest opportunity the people of Scotland have ever had to win real power and influence at Westminster by electing a big team of SNP MPs – and our appeal to people in every corner of the country is to join in and be part of it. There is strong underlying support for our proposition that a team of SNP MPs holding the balance of power will be good for Scotland, and indeed good for the UK as a whole. More people still believe that than are currently intending to vote SNP, and that is crucial in continuing to win undecided voters over to the SNP.

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“Our experience is that most previously undecided voters are choosing to be part of this unprecedented opportunity to make Scotland stronger at Westminster.”