Labour is bracing itself for another electoral humiliation at the hands of the SNP in the forthcoming Scottish Parliament election, privately admitting that Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership has made no impact on the party’s support in Scotland.
The party expects to lose every one of the 35 constituency seats it won four years ago and will have to rely on the top-up system on 5 May to maintain any presence at Holyrood.
Labour’s gloomy internal assessment was reflected by an opinion poll published which put the SNP on 52 per cent support for the constituency elections. Labour are languishing on 21 per cent, the Conservatives on 16 per cent and the Liberal Democrats on 7 per cent.
At the general election, Labour lost all but one of its 41 Westminster seats as the SNP captured 56 of the 59 parliamentary constituencies. Party chiefs in London plan to step up visits to previous Labour strongholds in Scotland’s central belt to support leader Kezia Dugdale’s effort to prevent a meltdown in support.
But a senior source told i: “Things are looking really, really bad in Scotland and there is no sign it is going to get better any time soon. It looks like we will be beaten in every single constituency election.”
The admission came as a poll of Scottish voters suggested that Labour will lose seats in May which the other main parties stand to gain. According to one analysis, if the results were repeated on polling day Labour would drop from 37 to 26 seats, the SNP would gain one to reach 70, the Tories would gain three to reach 18, the Lib Dems would rise from five to seven and the Greens from two to eight.
Labour’s focus on the SNP’s record in government also does not appear to be paying off, with the poll showing that Scots largely approve of what Nicola Sturgeon’s party is doing. Around half said they were satisfied with the SNP’s record on justice, education, health and transport compare to around a fifth to a quarter who were dissatisfied.
Responding to the poll, conducted by Survation for the Daily Record, the SNP said the results were “very encouraging” but that it did not take Scottish people’s support for granted. “While Labour and the Tories become increasingly divided and inward-looking, the SNP are determined to build on our strong record in government and to keep Scotland moving with fresh thinking and new ideas,” said the party’s business manager Derek Mackay.
Support for Ms Sturgeon also remains high, with the First Minister recording a popularity rating of +27 per cent. By contrast, Ms Dugdale’s approval rating stood at -9 per cent and Mr Corbyn’s at -17 per cent. On the question of independence, only 7 per cent of Scots said they felt this should be in the next government’s top three priorities.