SNP voters turned off by ‘dogged’ pursuit of independence and stance on Europe, Lord Ashcroft polling finds
EXCLUSIVE: Tory peer finds SNP voters in Edinburgh and Aberdeen tempted to vote Conservative
Some voters who backed the SNP in 2015 are being turned off the party by its “dogged” pursuit of independence and its stance on Europe, according to Lord Ashcroft.
The peer conducted focus groups in Conservative target seats Edinburgh South West and Aberdeen South and spoke to SNP voters who also backed Brexit, which according to his polls following the EU referendum vote constitute one in three of the party’s supporters.
The “single biggest reason” this group are now looking elsewhere is the SNP’s “apparently dogged pursuit of the independence agenda,” he said.
- All change: Scottish local government has undergone major changes
- 'Back to the 1970s' - Theresa May's life on Mars
- Clare Short on a new dawn in British politics: a 'time of idiots'
In a blog on the research, the Conservative peer said: “This suggested several things about Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Nationalists.
“The first was that they did not, after all, seem all that devoted to the people’s will… another was the feeling that the independence agenda had led the party to neglect priorities at Holyrood that many voters felt were closer to home.”
This group felt voting for independence then Brexit was consistent, according to Ashcroft.
“You’d rather run your own country. I’d rather be run by Westminster than be run by Brussels,” one told him.
Cynicism of Labour left the Conservatives as an option, Ashcroft argued, with voters not linking Ruth Davidson with the UK Government.
“She’s more of a Scottish Conservative, as opposed to an English Conservative in Scotland,” one respondent said.
However, Ashcroft also found some former no voters who had softened their attitude to independence among “mixed views” on the subject of a second referendum.
The view of sick and heavily pregnant MPs having to turn up to vote confirms the air of a parliamentary democracy trapped in another century
Former attorney general Dominic Grieve accused hard Brexiteers of undermining the Prime Minister
The new Brexit secretary suggested there was conditionality in the promise to pay the EU
MPs have suggested that EU citizens already living in the UK should be given ID cards after Brexit