Ed Miliband made yet another visit north of the border yesterday to urge voters to reconnect with Labour and not “gamble” on the Scottish National Party.
But Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon hit back by claiming that the Labour leader had “lost the plot” after he strongly ruled out any post-election deal with her party in Thursday night’s Question Time TV debate.
Labour is battling to retain Scottish votes, with recent polls suggesting the possibility of a total wipeout of its current 40 seats as the SNP continues to surge in popularity.
A survey last week for STV television indicated that the SNP was on 54 per cent and could win all 59 Scottish seats on Thursday although Labour continues to have a slight lead over the Tories across Britain in most polls.
At an election rally in Glasgow, Mr Miliband said Britain “could be on the verge of electing a Labour government.”
He called on Scots to reconnect with the party of Keir Hardie, Jennie Lee, John Smith and Donald Dewar rather than “gamble” with a vote for the SNP.
“Nationalism never built a school, it never lifted people out of poverty, it never created a welfare state that healed the sick and protected our most vulnerable,” said Mr Miliband.
“I’m not going to have deals with the SNP or coalitions. I’m not willing to pay that price, because I have fundamental disagreements with the SNP about breaking up the country.”
During a helicopter tour of East Lothian, Dundee and Fife, Ms Sturgeon told Sky News TV that the Labour leader was “increasingly sounding as if he is a man in denial.”
Mr Miliband would “never be forgiven” if he allowed the Tories to retain power, the SNP leader warned.
“He sounds as if he might be saying he would rather let David Cameron back into Downing Street than do any kind of arrangement with the SNP. If he is saying that, then Labour have lost the plot,” she said.
“If that is his position then he is hammering the final nail in the coffin of Scottish Labour, but I suspect he will be doing real damage to Labour in other parts of the UK as well.”