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Scottish Conservative wipe-out warning in study of public attitudes

Douglas Ross is MP for Moray, as well as being a Highlands and Islands MSP.

Conservatives face losing Douglas Ross’s Moray seat and being swept off the Westminster map in Scotland, according to exclusive in-depth research of public attitudes.

The findings will set off alarm bells in the party north of the border where Boris Johnson has been blamed for having a negative impact.

A study by Survation looked at how voters across the country viewed the current Tory-led UK Government’s ability to uphold standards in public life.

The results showed Scots were least likely to think the government is able to live up to expectations.

When researchers dug down further, they found what could happen if a general election was held now.

Voters ‘migrating’ from Tories

Scottish research, conducted by Survation for campaign organisation 38 Degrees, suggests decline in support for Conservatives.

Voters are seen to be “migrating” to Labour, the SNP and in some areas, the Liberal Democrats.

Translated into seats, the SNP would scoop up all six Conservative constituencies.

That would represent a major blow to the Tory revival in the north-east as well as regions in the south.

Mr Ross does not intend to stand again in Moray, meaning his successor will have a tough contest.

It could be an academic exercise anyway – proposals to redraw boundaries so Moray is split between three constituencies are currently being scrutinised.

‘Pro union’ vote could split

The Survation study suggests the prime minister’s current woeful approval rating is splitting a “pro union” vote.

This is a core group which had been prepared to swing behind someone, potentially a Conservative, to block the SNP.

A party spokesman said the Tories are still best placed to stand against Nicola Sturgeon’s party.

“We are Scotland’s real alternative to the SNP and the only party strong enough to challenge the nationalists all over Scotland, as we demonstrated in this year’s election by winning 100,000 more votes than ever before and being the only pro-UK party to move forward,” the spokesman said.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon along with Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross during a visit to Glasgow in November.

Under the modelling, known as MRP, Survation found Labour could lose Edinburgh South but pick up Edinburgh East.

If that pro-union tactical vote held up, it would only take a “minimal amount” to keep Ian Murray in his seat in the south of the capital.

The research suggests the SNP leads in Banff and Buchan, and in Mr Ross’s Moray seat, look “unassailable”.

It also sends a warning MP Andrew Bowie in West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, and Scottish Secretary Alister Jack in Dumfries and Galloway.

Could a Lib Dem revival be halted?

Lib Dems could lose their Westminster seats in Scotland despite the party’s stunning recent by-election win in Shropshire.

Survation’s findings raise the prospect of North East Fife switching back to the SNP if a general election were held now.

The study also puts a question mark over Lib Dem-held Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, as well as Edinburgh West.

Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton, who holds the Holyrood equivalent of Edinburgh Western, earlier disputed claims the SNP’s hold on Scottish politics could last much longer.

Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Alex Cole-Hamilton

Reacting to the result this month in the former Tory stronghold of Shropshire, he told us there are signs of a fightback.

He predicted Lib Dems gains in rural Scotland, and described North East Fife and Edinburgh West as solid areas.

The study was part of research on the so-called Nolan principles, which measure attitudes to standards in public life.

The seven principles are objectivity, accountability, leadership, openness, selflessness, integrity and honesty.

On average, Scotland marked the lowest of any part of the UK.

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