ED MILIBAND insists Labour’s general election battle “is no tougher than the fights we have faced in the past” - despite a new poll which suggests he is on course to lose 90% of his Scottish MPs to the SNP.
Mr Miliband acknowledged that Labour has had a “tough week” with the dramatic resignation of Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont, but said its general election success and devolution referendum in 1997 and the success of Labour-led Better Together in September demonstrates that the party has won tough battles in the past.
Scottish MP Jim Murphy has launched a campaign to lead Scottish Labour and end the streak of “losing Labour” following two poor Holyrood campaigns.
He faces competition from MSPs Neil Findlay and Sarah Boyack, with many Labour members insisting an MSP should lead Scottish Labour to dispel Ms Lamont’s parting shot that UK Labour is treating it like “a branch office”.
A new Ipsos Mori poll for STV News found that 52% of Scots would vote for the SNP if there was a Westminster election tomorrow, meaning the SNP could secure 54 seats, with Labour’s current 40 reduced to four and the Liberal Democrats reduced to one.
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In a speech to Scottish Labour’s gala dinner in Glasgow tonight, Mr Miliband said: “We meet here after a tough week for our party in Scotland and after an extraordinary year when Scotland has gone through a profound debate about its future.
“We meet here proud that in September we won the battle to keep our country together.
“And we meet here above all determined to fight to show the Scottish people that Labour can be the change they want to see.”
He added: “We are just over six months from the general election.
“I look forward to working shoulder to shoulder with whoever the party in Scotland elects as leader to win that election.
“Over its history we have seen the Scottish Labour Party fight for the values our movement holds dear.
“We face a tough fight but no tougher than the fights we have faced in the past.
“The fight for workers’ rights 100 years ago which Scottish Labour led and won. The fight for an NHS which Scottish Labour led and won. The fight to get rid of the Tories in 1997 and establish a Scottish Parliament which Scottish Labour led and won. And the fight to keep our country together which Scottish Labour led and won.
“In the next six months I know the Scottish Labour Party will fight every hour and every day to deliver the changes the working people of Scotland need to improve their lives.”
There was a further blow for Labour as a second poll indicated a commanding SNP lead.
A YouGov study for The Times put the SNP on 43%, which would give them 47 seats in Westminster, with Labour on 27%, which would leave them with 10 MPs.
The Conservatives were on 15% and the Lib Dems on 4%, giving each party a single MP.
:: YouGov surveyed 1,078 adults between Octover 27 and 30.