Senior Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs including shadow pensions minister Gregg McClymont and Treasury chief secretary Danny Alexander are under threat by the Scottish National Party’s surge in popularity, new polling reveals.
According to a poll of 16 key constituencies conducted by former Conservative deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft, only one – Labour-held Glasgow North East – will withstand the SNP onslaught. Thirteen of the seats set to be taken by the SNP are held by Labour MPs, with two occupied by Lib Dems.
Former SNP leader Alex Salmond is also on course to enter the Commons. He is standing in Gordon, a Lib Dem seat, which would be an SNP gain if the election mirrors the poll.
The constituerncies were chosen by Ashcroft because they either voted Yes to independence in the referendum or the result was close.
In Labour constituencies the overall swing to the SNP was 25.4 per cent. In the same seats, 60 per cent of those who voted for Labour in 2010 would do so again in the upcoming election, while 35 per cent said they would support the SNP.
However, the most popular election outcome in these seats was a Labour/SNP coalition, favoured by 39 per cent of voters.
Lord Ashcroft says: “With a vigorous Labour campaign there remains room for movement before May. For such a crucial battleground the campaign in these seats has yet to reach fever pitch – perhaps not surprisingly given the exhausting referendum campaign. Just 13 per cent said they had heard locally from the SNP in the last few weeks, and only 9 per cent from Labour.”
He adds that at least a third of people polled in Labour-held seats were not completely certain they would switch their allegiance from Labour to the SNP.