SNP Could Win Formerly Safe Scottish Labour Seats, Ashcroft Says

The Scottish National Party is set to win some of Labour and the Liberal Democrats’ safest seats in Scotland in May’s elections, according to Lord Ashcroft Polls.

A February survey of eight Scottish constituencies showed six could go to the SNP, including former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s seat of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, the report, published on Wednesday, showed. Brown has said he plans to step down as a member of parliament after May. The poll also suggests Scottish Labour Leader Jim Murphy would only hold on to his East Renfrewshire seat by only one percentage point.

With the general election only two months away, Scotland could prove to be be one of Labour’s main battlegrounds to gain power in Westminster. SNP support has increased since a referendum last September saw 45 percent of Scots vote for independence. The Ashcroft poll -- which was held in areas where support for independence was lower-- suggests that if the survey results were replicated across Scotland, the SNP would be a key player in negotiations to form the next British government.

Former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy is also predicted to lose to the SNP in Ross, Skye and Lochaber, according to the poll. Ashcroft Polls interviewed 12,005 people by telephone between Feb. 2 and Feb. 26.

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