Miliband in Scottish trip as support for Labour leader drops


  By a Newsnet reporter
Labour leader Ed Miliband’s arrival in Scotland today coincides with polls showing his popularity north of the border is now lower than even that of Tory leader David Cameron.
The Labour leader arrives in Scotland as the Scottish party embark on a campaign along with the Tories and Lib Dems in an attempt at attacking the integrity of First Minister Alex Salmond.

At today’s First Minister’s Questions all three Unionist opposition leaders are expected to try to portray Mr Salmond as untrustworthy after the SNP leader admitted to a mistake in college funding figures – according to Labour MSP Richard Baker, Mr Salmond “lies instinctively”.

Mr Miliband, who credited Middle England as the reason for his party’s recent by-election win in Corby, has failed to make any impact in Scotland since taking over from Gordon Brown.

The Labour leader’s profile in Scotland has not fared well.  In a previous visit last year Mr Miliband was unable to name all three candidates vying to be leader of the Scottish party – failing to name MSP Ken Macintosh who eventually lost out to Johann Lamont.

The last Scottish election, which the Labour leader claimed would serve as a springboard for UK success for his party, saw the SNP inflict a humiliating defeat on Labour which led to the resignation of the party’s Scottish front man Iain Gray.

This week Mr Miliband praised Mrs Thatcher as a “conviction politician” and claimed her success in the 1970s held parallels with today.

However there was little praise for his predecessor Gordon Brown who Mr Miliband criticised for having no clear vision.

The Labour leader is also languishing behind Tory PM David Cameron in the latest Scottish popularity poll.  Mr Cameron has a net score of minus 37, Miliband minus 40.

Commenting ahead of the visit, SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson said:

“Ed Miliband arrives today with approval ratings in Scotland even lower than those of David Cameron – and this will only get worse with his ‘new Thatcher’ message.

“In contrast the latest YouGov poll of leaders in Scotland shows that Alex Salmond is far and away seen as the best leader in Scotland to stand up for Scotland – with 43% saying the First Minister is best at standing up for Scotland’s interests, with the anti-independence party leaders scraping just a few percentage points between them.

“But today Mr Miliband will definitely have one big fan – Johann Lamont, whose Cuts Commission is out to roll back the achievements of Devolution and end what she disgracefully referred to as the ‘something for nothing’ culture in Scotland.

“Of course, Mr Miliband has previously said that there are no ‘big differences’ between Labour and the Tories – so his message this week should come as no big surprise.”