Yet another poll has put Labour on course to lose the vast majority of its Scottish MPs at May’s General Election.
The ICM poll for the Guardian puts the party down 16 percent on the 2010 election, with the Scottish National Party (SNP) surging by 23 points, to a total of 43 percent. If these results were applied uniformly across Scotland, Labour would be reduced from 41 Scottish MPs to just 10, while the SNP would take 45 of Scotland’s 59 seats – completely redrawing the political map north of the border.
Such huge losses for Labour could easily throw the result of the next General Election in doubt, making it highly unlikely the party will win an overall majority. With polls also suggesting only relatively modest gains in England, they may have to rely on the support of strengthened SNP caucus to have any hope of wresting power from David Cameron.
However, Professor John Curtice of the University of Strathclyde told the Guardian that the situation may be even worse for Labour than the headline figure suggests. Broken down into different categories of constituency, the party’s collapse is even more pronounced in seats regarded as the party’s heartlands. This could see the Scottish National Party taking seats that have until now seemed impregnable.
Under the more refined analysis, Labour is left with just three Westminster seats in Scotland, while the SNP wins 53.
“We are prospectively looking at the collapse of citadels that have always been Labour since the 1920s,” said Professor Curtice. “That will seem incredible to some in England, but to those of us who paid close attention to Alex Salmond’s 2011 landslide at Holyrood, it would merely be the next chapter in the political transformation of a nation.”
“It is becoming clear that the independence referendum has reset all the dials.” He added. “Previously rock-solid Labour seats in Glasgow voted yes in the referendum, and this now appears to be giving rise to a particular surge of nationalist sentiment in those parts of Scotland where it was once assumed that the SNP couldn’t reach.”
Any agreement between the SNP and Labour at Westminster would likely be highly controversial within the rest of the UK as it could put a party that wants to see the nation’s disillusion into government. Also, given the party’s recently lurch to the left, it could give Britain its most left wing government for many decades.