Poll gives lift to Prime Minister
May strengthens Scots Tory vote over Labour
A new poll will provide some relief to Theresa May this weekend by showing the Scottish Conservatives widening their lead over the Scottish Labour party.
Following the bad publicity over her “secret forest” meeting in Aberdeenshire, the Prime Minister will be lifted by a sharp turnaround in voting intentions north of the border.
The poll by ORB for the Sunday Telegraph puts the SNP in the lead, but indicates that the Tories, who currently have one MP in Scotland, will pick up seven from the nationalists, with the Liberal Democrats gaining two.
It found that 27% of voters backed the Tories against 16% supporting Labour. This is a sharp reversal on the 2015 general election, when Labour got 24% of the vote and the Tories just 15%.
It took place before Mrs May’s visit to Scotland this weekend which prompted criticism from those who accused her of “hiding from the public” by choosing to speak in a remote village hall.
Nevertheless, its findings will be a blow to Scottish Labour whose leader Kezia Dugdale was hoping to use this weekend to celebrate Labour’s achievements since Tony Blair won his first General Election in 1997.
It will also confirm SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon’s view that the battle north of the border is between her party and the Tories.
However, others polls on Saturday showed a rise in support for Labour across the UK, with the Tories’ lead narrowing to between 11 and 17 points.
A YouGov poll for the Sunday Times found that 44% were set to back the Conservatives, down from 48% last weekend. Support for Labour climbed to 31% from 25%.
There was further grim news for Labour in Scotland with predictions that the party will be a big loser in Thursday’s local elections.
The Prime Minister used a speech to in the north east of Scotland to repeat her claim that the Conservative party stood for the whole of Britain. She appealed to the country to unite to strengthen her hand in the Brexit talks.
In a speech which turned up the heat on her opponents, she referred to the SNP as “separatists”.
She reinforced her message that this was not the time to be considering an independence referendum as she addressed a small gathering in a village hall in Crathes, Aberdeenshire.
She said: “What we should be doing today is not talking about a second independence referendum, we should be working together not pulling apart.
European Union leaders endorsed stiff divorce terms for Britain on Saturday and warned Britons to have “no illusions” about swiftly securing a new relationship to keep their access to EU markets.
They took just minutes as they sat down to lunch in Brussels to approve eight pages of negotiating guidelines hammered out by their diplomats over the past month.
Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said his officials had identified a “cocktail” of 25 different legal issues to settle just regarding expatriate residence rights.
“I have the impression sometimes that our British friends — not all of them — underestimate the technical difficulties we have to face,”
“We want to ensure that we build a more secure and united nation and that means taking action against the extremists who would divide us and standing up against the separatists who want to break up our country.
“Every vote for me and my team in this election will be a vote for strengthening our hand in the Brexit negotiations that will strengthen our hand to get the best possible deal for businesses and people here in Scotland and across the whole of the United Kingdom.”
Speaking to mark the anniversary of Labour’s 1997 triumph, Ms Dugdale said: “The historic achievements of the last Labour government are still having a massive impact on the lives of people today.
“Labour choices in government mean workers are now getting a fair wage, despite Tory opposition. Labour choices in government took 600,000 children out of poverty across the UK – 120,000 of them in Scotland – despite Tory claims it was impossible.
“And Labour delivered peace in Northern Ireland, ending one of the world’s longest-running and most fractious conflicts.
“This is what Labour does in government and what it can do if you vote Labour on June 8.”