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SNP 'poised to take Brown's seat'


Then prime minister Gordon Brown arriving at the count for his Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath seat in 2010

Then prime minister Gordon Brown arriving at the count for his Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath seat in 2010

Then prime minister Gordon Brown arriving at the count for his Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath seat in 2010

Gordon Brown's parliamentary seat is set to be claimed by the SNP at the general election, according to polling by Tory peer Lord Ashcroft.

Labour is on course to lose Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, being fought by Kenny Selbie after the former prime minister announced he was standing down, to Nicola Sturgeon's party with a 28.5% swing, the research found.

Former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy, who represents Ross, Skye and Lochaber, is poised to become an SNP scalp on May 7 while the seat being vacated by former Chancellor Alistair Darling, Edinburgh South West, is also set to go to the nationalists, the polling found.

In the study of eight key seats, the SNP gains six and ties in Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale - the Conservatives' only seat north of the border.

Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy has a one point lead in East Renfrewshire.

Labour and the Conservatives are heading for a dead heat on polling day of 272 seats each, although the pollster was keen to stress some of the results are marginal and findings are a snapshot rather than a prediction.

He said: "A s things stand, Labour losses in Scotland could offset their gains from the Tories, leading to something close to a dead heat."

Lord Ashcroft said there was an "unmistakeable" trend in the nearly 2,000 national voting intention polls released since the last election.

"Labour have fallen from their peak above 40% to the low 30s, from which the Conservatives have been unable to break free since the middle of 2012.

" The Liberal Democrats, meanwhile, remain well below half their 2010 vote share, and Ukip have fallen back slightly from their peak at the end of last year.

" In other words, the polls are not bringing much joy to anyone except the polling companies' shareholders."

Angus Robertson, SNP general election campaign director, said: "These polls are very encouraging, but we aren't taking a single seat or vote for granted in May.

"The most significant aspect of the findings is it confirms that the SNP's surge in support is reflected every bit as much in areas of Scotland which voted No as a well as Yes in the referendum."

Mr Murphy said: "This is bad news for Scottish Labour but great news for the Tories.

"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."

He added: "We need to do everything we can to stop the Tories being the largest party, and the way to do that is to vote for Scottish Labour."

A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: "This poll shows that the Scottish Conservatives are now in a real fight across Scotland.

"With the Liberal Democrat vote having collapsed completely, we offer Scots the opportunity to unite around a plan to finish the job of economic recovery and to secure Scotland's place in the UK - any other vote will let Ed Miliband into Downing Street, with Alex Salmond calling the shots."

A Scottish Liberal Democrat spokeswoman said: "These polls show that Lib Dems are best placed to stop the SNP in the Highlands and the North East.

"As the election gets nearer people will want to back Scottish Liberal Democrat MPs to support our focus on public services and our plan for more support for the NHS. "