Tories face wipe-out in Scotland after tax chaos
The Conservative Party faces almost total wipeout in Scotland at the next General Election, according to a new opinion poll which reveals Prime Minister Liz Truss less popular than Boris Johnson north of the border.
Support for Douglas Ross’s Scottish Tories is at its lowest for almost eight years with Labour enjoying the benefits of their rivals’ collapse.
The Prime Minister and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s bungled handling of tax cuts are regarded as the core reason for the dismal showing of the party in Scotland.
Research by YouGov for The Times shows the proportion of voters who said Truss was doing a good job was just 8% – significantly lower than Johnson’s worst ever performance in Scotland, which dipped to 17% in the last poll in May.
The survey indicates that if these voting intentions took place at the next election, due in 2024, the Tories would lose all six Tory seats including those held by Scottish Tory Leader Douglas Ross and Scottish Secretary Alister Jack. This would be a repeat of the 1997 general election wipe-out that saw Tony Blair sweep to a landslide victory.
Backing for the Conservatives in Scotland at a general election tumbled to 12%, down seven points since May and the party’s poorest Westminster rating in any poll since February 2015.
The SNP seized on the data to say it vindicated their demands for another referendum on independence.
However, Labour was the big gainer in the poll with its support increasing by nine points to 31% while SNP support actually fell by one point to 45%.
The analysis suggests the SNP would gain one seat to return 49 MPs, Labour would have seven — a rise of six MPs — while the Liberal Democrats would lose one Westminster politician, winning three constituencies.
A separate UK-wide survey for YouGov found that the chaos surrounding u-turns on key policies and in-fighting at the Conservative Party conference, saw Truss’s net favourability rating across Britain stand at -59. Mr Johnson’s rating slumped to a low of -53 as he was forced from office.
Satisfaction with Sir Keir Starmer, the UK Labour leader, has increased to +13, making him more popular in Scotland than Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister, despite her improving her score by two points to +11.
Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater said: “If these numbers were to be reflected at the ballot box they could translate into a doubling of our MSPs at Holyrood, and suggests that voters like what they are seeing from having Scottish Greens in Government.”
Nadine Dorries, the former Culture Secretary warned the Prime Minister that policies favouring the already better off risked electoral catastrophe across the UK.
“You don’t win elections by lurching to the right and deserting the centre ground for Keir Starmer to place his flag on,” said Ms Dorries.
Commenting on the Conservatives slump, polling analyst Professor Sir John Curtice said: “The party looks once again like the minnow it was before its revival under the leadership of Ruth Davidson.”
YouGov’s poll, which was carried out before Ms Truss addressed the party conference in Birmingham, also found that the Tories would lose more than half of their MSPs if current voting intentions were replicated in the 2026 Holyrood elections.
Mr Ross, who is facing potential challenges from within his own group in the Scottish parliament, urged his colleagues to “be united” and back Ms Truss’s leadership.
However, her is also faced with support for independence increasing by five points to 43%, while backing for the union dropped by one point to 45%, with 7% undecided.
With “don’t knows” removed, this means the constitutional question remains finely balanced: 49% in favour of leaving the UK and 51% supporting the union.
In her keynote speech to the Conservative party conference today, Ms Truss pledged to “face down the separatists who threaten to pull apart our precious Union, our family”.
She claimed Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP and militant unions were part of an “anti-growth coalition”.