Pro-independence parties set for Scottish elections' 'super-majority'

Pro-independence parties set for ‘super-majority’ in Scottish elections with the SNP and Greens gaining seats and Alex Salmond’s new Alba Party forecast to land six places

  • SNP, Greens and Alex Salmond’s Alba Party are forecast to win 79 of 129 seats
  • Tories on 24 seats, Scottish Labour on 20 and the Liberal Democrats on five
  • Will buoy separatist efforts to force the PM to allow a new referendum 

Pro-independence parties could win a ‘super-majority’ in May’s Scottish Parliament elections, according to a new poll today that will put more pressure on Boris Johnson.

The Scottish National Party, the Scottish Greens and Alex Salmond’s new Alba Party are forecast to win 79 of the 129 Holyrood seats between them, according to a survey by Panelbase for the Sunday Times.

Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP are set to gain two seats to take it to 65, a narrow outright majority. The poll also found that the Greens will add six seats to their current two.

And in its most surprising finding it found that Alba, which only launched last week, could win six seats on the regional list.  

An analysis of the poll by Sir John Curtice of Strathclyde University put the Scottish Conservatives on 24 seats, Scottish Labour on 20 and the Liberal Democrats on five.

George Galloway could enter the Scottish Parliament as his pro-union Alliance for Unity group may take a single seat.

But it means that the pro-independence parties are way ahead, which will buoy their efforts to force the Prime Minister to allow a rerun of the 2014 referendum. 

He has refused to allow it, saying the 2014 vote, which went 55-45 in favour of Scotland remaining in the UK, was a ‘once in a generation’ poll. 

Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP are set to gain two seats to take it to 65, a narrow outright majority. The poll also found that the Greens will add six seats to their current two.

And in its most surprising finding it revealed that Alba, which was only launched by Mr Salmond last week, could win six seats on the regional list.

SNP candidate sorry for Theresa May ‘Hitler’ tweet 

A tweet from an SNP candidate for Holyrood comparing the actions of Theresa May in rejecting an independence referendum to the actions of Adolf Hitler has been described as ‘disgraceful’ by anti-Semitism campaigners.

Stephanie Callaghan is currently standing to be the MSP for Uddingston and Bellshill, replacing the retiring Richard Lyle, and is sixth on the party’s regional list.

In 2017, Ms Callaghan tweeted about the decision of then prime minister Theresa May to refuse an independence referendum.

First reported in the Scottish Sun, the now deleted tweet said: ‘Tory propaganda provides a window into future plans: stamp on democracy.

‘Hitler did same: set scene 4 Jewish Holocaust to lower opposition.’

The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism said: ‘There is no comparison between political tensions in the UK today and Nazi Germany’s systematic destruction of democracy and murder of six million Jewish men, women and children.

‘Politicians must set an example by learning the lessons of the Holocaust – not diminishing the memory of those innocents who were slaughtered by using the Holocaust to score political points

‘To make such a comparison is disgraceful and wounding, showing incredible ignorance.’ 

Ms Callaghan told the newspaper: ‘The words in this old tweet were poorly chosen and I apologise for the offence caused.

‘I have deleted the tweet.’

 

Panelbase surveyed 1,009 adults in Scotland between March 30 and April 1.

It is the second opinion poll to include Alba since the party was launched by the former first minister to contest the regional list seats.

In the constituency vote, the SNP was on 49 per cent, with the Tories on 22 per cent, Labour on 20 per cent and the Lib Dems on 6 per cent.

For the regional list vote, the SNP was on 39 per cent, with the Conservatives on 21 per cent, Labour on 17 per cent, and the Greens on 8 per cent and the Lib Dems on 5 per cent.

The poll had Alba on 6 per cent for the regional list vote, with All for Unity on 4 per cent.

Writing in the Sunday Times, Sir John said Panelbase’s results were ‘good news’ for the Alba Party, though a drop of just 2 per cent in support would mean their tally would fall to one MSP.

The polling expert said: ‘Alba may be on the cusp of recording a creditable performance and coming away largely empty-handed.

‘Although most of the seats the party could win with a 6 per cent tally look as though they would be secured at the expense of the unionist parties, our projection suggests that a couple might otherwise have been won by the SNP or the Greens.

‘Even with an estimated 49 per cent of the constituency vote, that is not a possibility the SNP will regard with equanimity.

‘Such a result in the constituencies could still leave the party a seat short of an overall majority and reliant on winning a vital list seat to achieve what has come to be regarded as a crucial target.’

He said that despite Nicola Sturgeon’s call for ‘both votes SNP’, 9 per cent of those who back the SNP in the constituency vote indicated they would vote Alba on the list and as many as 10 per cent would opt for the Scottish Greens on the list.

He continued: ‘Alba is appealing to a section of the nationalist movement that wants a rapid timetable for indyref2 and which still admires Salmond.

‘As many as 70 per cent of Alba supporters want a referendum within 12 months compared with 48 per cent of SNP list voters and 35 per cent of Green voters.

‘While 93 per cent of those who back Alba believe that Salmond is ‘a fit person to stand for election’, only 13 per cent of SNP supporters and 15 per cent of Green voters take the same view.

‘Salmond’s personality has enabled him to create a new party out of nothing.

‘However, it may now also constrain what the party can hope to achieve.’

Responding to the poll, SNP depute leader Keith Brown said: ‘This is the most important election in Scotland’s history – every single vote will count, and this poll shows that giving anything less than both votes to the SNP means gambling with Scotland’s future.

‘These serious times require serious leadership, and people across the country can put their trust in the experience of Nicola Sturgeon as we move through the pandemic and towards a strong, secure recovery.’

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