LONDON — Labour is bracing itself for near electoral wipeout in the upcoming local elections in Scotland, leaked internal polling suggests.
Polling conducted by the party and leaked to The Herald newspaper that Jeremy Corbyn’s party have haemorrhaged votes to the Conservatives and are on course to finish a distant third in the May elections.
According to the figures, Labour are on just 15%, ten points behind the Tories on 25% and 30 points behind the SNP on 45%.
The figures were presented to Labour members of the Scottish Parliament last week.
One source, who saw the figures, told the paper: “Of those who voted Labour in last general election, around half won’t do so again with most going to the Tories.”
A source added that the polling showed there is “no such thing as a core Labour vote”in Scotland.
Labour’s longstanding voter base has collapsed in Scotland in recent years, culminating in last year’s general election where it was reduced to just one seat, having previously held 41.
Labour leader in Scotland Kezia Dugdale and Jeremy Corbyn are under severe pressure to turn Labour’s fortunes around in Scotland, knowing there is no realistic prospect of the party forming a majority government unless it can rely on a strong Scottish voter base.
The May local elections are a key barometer for the party. As things stand, the party is facing the very real possibility of losing control of some, if not all, the 16 councils it currently holds or is the lead coalition partner in. This includes Glasgow council, which Labour is set to surrender for the first time in over 40 years.
However, some in the party remain optimistic that the single transferable vote system used in Scottish local elections will prevent a total electoral wipeout.
Outside of Scotland, Labour faces a major battle to retain the Cumbrian constituency of Copeland, where a by-election will be held in February after MP Jamie Reed resigned. Labour has controlled Copeland since 1931, but like in many working-class strongholds the party’s appeal is diminishing, with the Tories favourites to win.
Business Insider visited Copeland this week to speak to Labour councillors and activists about why a seat it has held for nearly for half a century is now under threat.
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