Labour set to lose almost all their seats in Scotland
Labour is on course to lose almost all of their seats in Scotland with even Jim Murphy hanging on by thread, a series of shocking new polls have found.
The polls of eight key Scottish constituencies found that Labour's vote has collapsed even in areas which voted No in the independence referendum.
Extraordinary swings to the SNP right across Scotland mean Labour are set to lose dozens of seats including Alistair Darling's and Gordon Brown's, according to the polls commissioned by Lord Ashcroft.
Most worrying of all for the party, the polls suggest that even Jim Murphy could lose his seat. The poll of his East Renfrewshire seat found the Scottish Labour leader ahead by just one point. However, the raw numbers for this poll actually found him running slightly behind the SNP. It was only after they were adjusted for probable voter turnout that he edged ahead.
Labour figures last night appeared shell-shocked by the findings.
Aberdeen South MP Anne Begg said the party were paying the price for getting too close to the Conservatives during the referendum campaign.
"There is certainly an element of us being perceived as being in bed with the Tories and that has certainly done some damage," she told Newsnight.
Ashcroft also polled a number of key marginal seats in England. Taken together, the polls suggest that Labour and the Conservatives could be tied on seats with the SNP holding the balance of power at Westminster.
The SNP's message, that they will help prop up a Labour government, but not a Conservative one, appears to have convinced many Scottish voters that it is safe to back the party.
Just as worrying for Labour, previous polls have also found Scottish voters would actually prefer David Cameron as prime minister rather than Ed Miliband.
Despite this, Labour continue to repeat their message that the only way to keep the Tories out is to vote for Labour.
"There is no gloss that can be put on these polls. This is bad news for Scottish Labour but great news for the Tories," Jim Murphy said last night.
"David Cameron will be rubbing his hands with glee when he sees these polls, because any seat the SNP take from Scottish Labour makes it more likely the Tories will be the largest party across the UK."
Reinforcing the message he posted the following image on Twitter depicting David Cameron and George Osborne gleefully laughing at the poll results.
Here's a response from David Cameron to the latest opinion polls in Scotland. pic.twitter.com/cttG2V4dOc
— Jim Murphy (@jimmurphymp) March 4, 2015
Murphy and his fellow Scottish Labour MPs are now calling on Ed Miliband to rule out doing any post-election deal with the SNP.
Sources close to Murphy insist it would be "a cold day in hell" before Scottish MPs do a deal with the party.
The call poses a dilemma for Miliband. Failure to rule out such a deal could further weaken Labour's position in Scotland.
However, last night's poll suggests that such a deal could be the only chance Miliband has left of forming the next government.