Labour dismiss 'nonsense' claims that Ed Miliband was 'barred from speaking at final referendum rally' in Scotland

The Scottish National Party is overtaking Labour in voting polls

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Ed Miliband was allegedly barred from speaking at the final rally before the Scottish independence referendum as pro-union campaigners believed he would be “a liability”, according to The Telegraph.

The party was instead represented by former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown, former chancellor Alistair Darling and Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont, who has since resigned and been replaced by Jim Murphy.

A Labour spokesman told The Independent that the assertions claiming Miliband was being prevented from speaking are “nonsense”.

He said: “Everybody wanted Scottish campaigners like Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling at the forefront on the last day of the campaign.

“It was Ed Miliband who led the campaign to raise the Saltire across the UK in support of the No campaign, Ed attended numerous events during the referendum and played a leading role in keeping the UK together from the start of the campaign until the end.”

The Telegraph also reported that other Labour sources had said that the Oxford University and London School of Economics graduate’s “north London intellectual image” would be off-putting for voters.

 

The claims come after a poll on Friday of 1,004 voters in Scotland which showed that the majority are opting for the Scottish National Party as opposed to Labour in the run-up to the general election in May.

SNP MSP James Dornan said: “These revelations prove that Ed Miliband was seen by his party as a liability during the referendum campaign – a Labour leader seen as so out of touch that he joined senior Tories Philip Hammond and Iain Duncan Smith in not being permitted to even speak to voters in Scotland.

“And polling carried out since Jim Murphy took over as leader in Scotland is showing a 'reverse honeymoon' for him, with the SNP stretching our lead even further.

“As Labour continue to pay the price for their toxic alliance with the Tories, more and more people are putting their trust in the SNP to stand up for Scotland.”

Labour is expected to get 26% of the vote while the pro-independence SNP is on track for 43%, the Guardian/ICM poll revealed.

This spells bad news for the party, compared to their 42% share of the vote in 2010, as traditional Labour strongholds are now switching over in the wake of the close-cut referendum. This could mean that Miliband is further than he expected from running the country under a Labour government.

Lamont quit as Labour leader in October having accused Westminster colleagues, who she said do not understand Scottish politics, of treating Scotland like a “branch office”.

The SNP is expected to increase their takeover of Scottish seats in the House of Commons from six to 45 of the 59 total places.

The party lost the referendum in September with 45% of the vote with the rest taken up by the successful “No” vote.

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