Scottish Labour 25-seat win could make Keir Starmer PM, think tank claims
Labour could win 25 Scottish seats at the next general election - and take the party into power, a think-tank says.
The party currently has one MP in Scotland, Ian Murray. But in a new report, the Scottish Fabians say 24 other constituencies in former Labour heartlands are within the party's "grasp" - if it can win support from the SNP.
The report, titled Winning Back the First Red Wall, says that Labour "depends on Scotland to achieve a majority government" under Keir Starmer, adding: "There is no doubt there is still a mountain to climb but the path to a Labour government is now clear."
Labour moved into second place ahead of the Conservatives at this spring's council elections.
Using voting patterns from that contest, the report claims that Labour could win three constituencies and have a chance at another 10 with a swing of up to four per cent. "Squeezing" SNP and Green voters would increase this to 24, it is claimed.
The analysis shows one in five SNP voters put Labour as their second party preference at the council contest, and the authors conclude that persuading half of this group is the key to success.
Katherine Sangster, of the Scottish Fabians, hailed Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar for having "arrested the decline" of the party and making "significant progress".
She said: "Labour needs to gain 124 seats across the UK to secure a majority of one, and of the 150 potential target seats, 24 are in Scotland.
"From a starting point of one seat this may seem a tall order, yet the Labour party cannot form a majority government without winning back seats in Scotland.
"Scotland must be one of the key battlegrounds for Labour going into an election."
Could-win seats include Edinburgh South, Edinburgh South West, East Lothian Coast - renamed due to proposed boundary changes - and West Dunbartonshire. Potential gains could also be made in Glasgow Central, the seat Sarwar held from 2010-15, as well as Hamilton and Clyde, Rutherglen and Midlothian.
Sangster said: "The seats Labour needs to win all occupy Scotland's political middle ground and were the former Labour heartlands. It is impossible to win the 25 seats needed for a Labour government without winning votes from the SNP.
"Our analysis quantifies the size of the opportunity for Labour and demonstrates that statistically 25 seats are within its grasp.
"There is no doubt there is still a mountain to climb, but the path to a Labour government is now clear."