Jim Murphy yesterday argued that Scottish Labour is “not a Central Belt party” as his shadow cabinet jetted into Aberdeen for the day.
Mr Murphy, who leads the party north of the border, was keen to stress that Labour is “Aberdeen to its core” as the battle to secure votes in May’s general election heats up.
The SNP has its sights set on a number of Labour seats, including Aberdeen North, where sitting MP Frank Doran will not be seeking re-election.
Election prediction organisation Electoral Calculus has suggested that the Nationalists could wrestle both Aberdeen seats from Labour.
The shadow cabinet met at Pittodrie Stadium before Mr Murphy visited Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, where he announced his intention to create an “NHS frontline fund” and re-iterated his support for the north-east to benefit from a City Deal from the UK Government.
Mr Murphy said: “This is only the second time Labour’s shadow cabinet has been out of Edinburgh and it’s great to be back in Aberdeen again.
“The Scottish Labour party is Aberdeen to its core. We’re not a central belt party, we are much more than that.”
Speaking about a possible City Deal for the north-east region, he said: “The UK Government must bring forward a City Deal for Aberdeen as soon as possible.
“Glasgow has a City Deal which has given them a billion pounds of infrastructure spending and the shadow cabinet unanimously backed Aberdeen to benefit from the City Deal.
“In my view if it’s good enough for Glasgow then it’s good enough for Aberdeen.”
Mr Murphy added that the party had identified an additional £100million in the Scottish Government budget that could be used to help the NHS tackle pressure on accident and emergency.
The East Renfrewshire MP quoted figures showing there are 363 vacancies in nursing and midwifery in NHS Grampian.
He said: “I was surprised at the scale of the shortage in nurses.
“That’s not the hospital’s fault and it’s not the NHS’s fault – I think it’s a sense that with the SNP government in Edinburgh that Aberdeen becomes the forgotten city.
“We can’t allow Aberdeen’s health service to become the forgotten health service.”
Quizzed on Labour’s poor poll ratings in Scotland, Mr Murphy answered: “Polls are there to be confounded and instead of the SNP boasting about any poll lead they should be trying to deal with the shortage of nurses.”