Thursday

7th Jul 2022

Scottish nationalists to hold UK balance of power

  • The SNP campaigned for Scotland to leave the UK (Photo: Valentina Pop)

The Scottish Nationalist Party is poised to hold the balance of power following next week’s UK elections, after new polls suggested that Nicola Sturgeon’s party will win all 59 Scottish constituencies.

A survey released on Wednesday (29 April) by pollsters Ipsos Mori puts the SNP on 54 percent of the vote in Scotland, with the once dominant Labour party trailing on 20 percent.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Sturgeon: The SNP is ready to give UK politics 'the fright of its life' (Photo: First Minister of Scotland)

The SNP surge makes it increasingly likely that the party will be kingmakers after the poll on 7 May.

UK-wide opinion polls continue to have the Conservatives and Labour in a near dead-heat, both winning between 265-275 seats in the 650 seat parliament.

The Liberal Democrats, who formed a coalition with the Conservatives in 2010, are expected to claim around 30 seats, around half of their total from 2010. The anti-EU UK Independence party is expected to win only a couple of seats.

A potential wipe-out in Scotland is also a huge blow to Labour’s hopes of taking power. Labour has consistently returned the most MPs to the Westminster parliament since the 1960s. In 2010, Labour won 40 seats in Scotland, compared to 6 for the SNP and one for the governing Conservatives.

Anthony Wells, a pollster with rival firm YouGov, referred to the change as as “a true realignment in Scottish politics”.

“It’s just a question of how colossal the SNP landslide is,” he added.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has vowed not to enter a coalition with the SNP, despite it generally being regarded as a centre-left party, raising the prospect of a second election before the end of the year.

“He can say what he likes now, but he will have to wake up and smell the coffee on 8 May,” Sturgeon said in an interview on ITV on Wednesday night. She also described the election as “an opportunity to give Westminster the fright of its life”.

“We have got bargaining power on every single vote,”.

Despite losing last September’s referendum on independence from the UK, the SNP saw an immediate surge in support after Prime Minister David Cameron ruled out the prospect of extra financial support for Scotland and vowed to tackle the constitutional quirk which allows Scottish and Welsh MPs to vote on policy matters that affect England but not vice versa.

Post-referendum promises to transfer further powers to the Scottish government have also failed to be fleshed out.

The referendum defeat has not dampened the enthusiasm of Scots for independence. More than 50 percent of Scots now back independence, and a sustained period of dominance in both Scottish and Westminster elections would inevitably maintain the pressure for a second referendum.

“We were lucky, in a way, in 2010, that it was possible to put together a strong government relatively quickly. But there is absolutely no guarantee that can happen again with all the uncertainties and instabilities of what is happening in Scotland,” Cameron said on Wednesday, warning that “if government comes to a shuddering halt you can find parts of the economy coming to a juddering halt”.

Magazine

Breaking up is hard to do

For a frenzied 72 hours of campaigning, the future of the United Kingdom was under threat. The 300 year old settlement binding together Scotland and England in danger of being torn up.

Magazine

UK elections: All bets off

Just months to Britain's next general election all bets are off. Can one of the beleaguered Conservative or Labour parties stumble across the winning line, or will Ukip's surge continue?

Has the Ukip surge fizzled out?

“All bets are off, the whole thing’s up in the air.” So said Ukip leader Nigel Farage last November after his party won its second by-election in successive months.

Column

'War on Women' needs forceful response, not glib statements

Some modest headway in recognising the unrelenting tide of discrimination and violence facing women worldwide was made at last week's largely self-congratulatory and mostly irrelevant G7 talk-fest. But no one mentioned abortion, just days after the Roe vs Wade decision.

News in Brief

  1. Catalan MEPs lose EU court case over recognition
  2. 39 arrested in migrant-smuggling dragnet
  3. France to nationalise nuclear operator amid energy crisis
  4. Instant legal challenge after ok for 'green' gas and nuclear
  5. Alleged Copenhagen shooter tried calling helpline
  6. Socialist leader urges Czech PM to ratify Istanbul convention
  7. Scottish law chief casts doubt on referendum
  8. British PM faces mounting rebellion

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. EU should freeze all EU funds to Hungary, says study
  2. Legal action looms after MEPs back 'green' nuclear and gas
  3. EU readies for 'complete Russian gas cut-off', von der Leyen says
  4. Rising prices expose lack of coherent EU response
  5. Keeping gas as 'green' in taxonomy vote only helps Russia
  6. 'War on Women' needs forceful response, not glib statements
  7. Greece defends disputed media and migration track record
  8. MEPs adopt new digital 'rule book', amid surveillance doubts

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us