SNP election nightmare: Nicola Sturgeon faces new threat as Labour plans Scottish return

Scotland under SNP has become 'worse-off' says Ross

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Nicola Sturgeon will use local elections in Scotland to judge public feeling on her independence proposals on May 5, when the SNP seeks to retain control of the country’s councils. SNP MPs and MSPs have dominated politics north of the border for years, with the main competition coming from the Conservatives. Labour has long failed to persuade voters with competing left-wing policies, but that could soon change, according to the latest polling predictions.

With just four days to go until parties contest most of Scotland’s council seats, Labour has made some last-minute gains.

A campaign blitz from local party leader Anas Sarwar has seen the party rebound from disappointing performances in its former stronghold.

A poll from Panelbase found that 24 percent of respondents said they would vote for the party in an election.

Those results mark a gain of four percent since November 2021 and mean Labour leapfrogs the Conservatives to become the second most popular Scottish party.

Douglas Ross’s party, likely suffering from controversies caused by its national leadership, has failed to make the same gains.

Since November last year, the SNP’s primary opposition at Holyrood has stagnated at 21 percent, pushing it to third place.

Scottish Labour’s new position makes it best-placed to contest the SNP in the local races.

But it is unlikely to make any significant gains despite Nicola Sturgeon losing some of her popularity.

The Panelbase poll shows that while Labour has gained four points, the SNP has lost six.

While that would usually come as good news for its rivals, the party maintains a mammoth polling lead.

In November, 48 percent of voters said they would back the SNP, with that total now down to 42 percent.

Those odds will likely prove insurmountable for Labour in its bid to control Scottish council seats but should save the party from embarrassment.

The last 20 years have seen Scottish Labour lose most of its appeal north of the border.

Since Tony Blair was in power in 1999, the party has lost 32 MSPs, bringing the total down from 56 at its peak to 22.

Labour won’t set its sights solely on the SNP, as it will want to settle scores with the Conservatives.

The Tories overtook the party in the 2017 elections following a landmark surge in which they swept 164 councils.

The victory extracted 133 seats from Labour, which only managed to net 20 percent of the vote.

Mr Sarwar has found success this year in following the national leadership strategy.

His campaigners have focussed on the cost of living, which is at the forefront of concerns for most Britons.

Unlike the Conservatives, he can argue that neither the Scottish nor UK national governments have done enough to remedy the issue.

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