Labour believe they are closer to SNP than they thought

Kezia Dugdale attempted to bounce back from Labour's dismal local election by claiming several Westminster seats had come into play ahead of the local election.
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale. Picture: PAScottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale. Picture: PA
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale. Picture: PA

Sources close to the Scottish Labour leader said the party was hopeful of making an impression in places such as Rutherglen, East Lothian and Midlothian as well as Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill.

Labour goes into the general election defending just one seat – Edinburgh South, held by Ian Murray.

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But after a meeting of Labour’s Scottish Executive Committee, Labour sources claimed the local result showed that Labour was closer to the Nationalists than their strategists thought, despite the party losing 133 seats and losing control of Glasgow for the first time in nearly four decades.

“We are actually much closer to the SNP than we thought,” the source said.

“All it would take is the Tory voters in those areas realising that we are in second place and we can challenge the SNP.

“We are under no illusions that the Tories are going to do well in Perthshire, Moray and in the border areas. But we are genuinely surprised. The polls put us at fourteen, fifteen per cent for a year and we have done much better than that.”