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Labour's Scot seats 'may be halved'

A new poll suggests Labour is on course to lose half its 40 Scottish seats at Westminster in May.

The SNP could increase its seats from six to 35, according to an analysis of poll figures by The Sunday Times.

The Panelbase poll of 1,007 Scottish adults asked which way they would be likely to vote if there was a UK parliamentary election tomorrow.

The results, excluding don't knows, put the SNP on 41% and Labour on 31%, with the Conservatives on 14%, Ukip on 7% and the Liberal Democrats on 3%.

It represents a recovery for Labour north of the border, having slashed the SNP's lead from 17 points in the previous Panelbase poll in November to 10, and follows Jim Murphy's election to Scottish Labour leader in December.

The figures also suggest the Lib Dems could lose all but two of their 11 seats and the Conservatives could gain a second Scottish MP, according to the newspaper.

Ivor Knox of Panelbase said: "Today's SNP lead is somewhat lower than our last poll but is still in double digits, and the key seems to be Yes voters lining up behind the party."

The poll was conducted from January 9 to 14.

Meanwhile, a YouGov survey for the Scottish Sun on Sunday found 14% of English voters thought it would be a good thing for the SNP to hold the balance of power at Westminster in the event of a hung parliament after the election, compared to 46% of Scottish voters.

The poll also found 60% of voters in Scotland want to see First Minister Nicola Sturgeon included in pre-election television debates between the party leaders.

A third poll, conducted for think-tank British Future and reported in the Sunday Herald, found that 66% of Scots believe the country will be independent in 10 or 50 years, compared to 17% who think independence will never happen.

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