THE Conservatives are on course to pick up seven seats in Scotland in the General Election, according to a new poll.
A projection from a YouGov poll for The Times Scotland gives the SNP 47 seats, the Tories eight, the Liberal Democrats three and Labour still with only one MP after the June 8 vote.
Among the seats predicted to change hands are Moray, currently held by SNP depute leader Angus Robertson, and Aberdeen South, where Callum McCaig won almost 42% of the vote in 2015.
Eight seats would be the highest Tory return north of the border since 1992 when the party won 11, but they were all wiped out in the 1997 general election.
The Tories, who are campaigning on a message of opposing the SNP’s bid for a second independence referendum, currently have one Scottish MP – David Mundell.
Voting intentions from the Times poll have the SNP leading on 41%, the Tories on 28%, with Labour at 18%, Lib Dems 7%, Greens 3% and Ukip on 2% across Scotland.
A Panelbase survey earlier in April had the SNP on 44% and the Tories on 33%.
Questioned on independence, respondents to the latest YouGov/Times poll were 45% Yes and 55% No, the same result as in the 2014 referendum.
The Times poll also found that 42% are in favour of another referendum, with 51% against and 7% saying they don’t know.
Focusing on the timing of any future independence referendum under the proposed SNP timetable, 37% said they want one after Brexit negotiations conclude but before Britain leaves the EU, while 49% said they did not want a referendum at that time.
More than 1,000 people took part in the survey between April 24 and 27.
The other seats the poll suggests the Conservatives will win from the SNP are West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, Perth and North Perthshire, Dumfries and Galloway, the Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk seat and East Renfrewshire, while retaining Mr Mundell’s constituency of Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale.
On the campaign trail on Friday, Nicola Sturgeon is prioritising public services and community investment as she takes the SNP election campaign to a key constituency.
The First Minister will be in East Renfrewshire with party candidate Kirsten Oswald, who defeated then Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy in the constituency in 2015.
The former campaign director of Better Together during the 2014 independence referendum, Blair McDougall, will contest the seat for Scottish Labour this year, while Paul Masterton is the Conservative candidate.
Ms Sturgeon said only her party “can stand up to the Tories”.
“The truth is the more Tory MPs Westminster has, the heavier the price Scotland will pay,” she said.
“This cruel and damaging agenda has been created by a Tory Government with a narrow majority, imagine what they could achieve if they succeeded in their aim of crushing all parliamentary opposition.
“A free hand for the Tories would mean even more cuts, more attacks on low income families and a hard Brexit.
“The SNP is the only party that can stand up to the Tories, and working with the Scottish parliament SNP MPs will fight these devastating policies.
“It is now clearer than ever, a vote for the SNP is a vote to back public services, to oppose austerity and to invest in our communities.”
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