New poll Working people overwhelmingly back an MSP to ...

New poll: Working people overwhelmingly back an MSP to lead Labour in Scotland

03 November 2014

The first poll of working people in Scotland to seek their views of the Labour party amid the contest for a new leader in Scotland has revealed overwhelming backing for an MSP to fill that role.

When asked who should lead Labour in Scotland - an MP or MSP - by approximately four to one (78 percent to 22 percent) Unite members said that they wanted someone rooted in Holyrood for the job.

The survey of over 5,000 Unite members across Scotland also confirmed the continuing drift away from the party established by working people. 54 percent of those who voted Labour in the last general election say that they do not expect to do so again in 2015.

The poll was conducted against a backdrop of significant coverage of the leadership contest, and while Unite consults its representatives on who they believe should lead Scottish Labour.

Responding to the results Pat Rafferty leader of Unite in Scotland said: “By four to one members are calling for the Labour leader in Scotland to be based in our parliament. Holyrood is where the Scottish people now see political power, and the party must pay heed to this.

“It is also deeply concerning that the drift of working people away from the only party founded by them, to deliver for them, continues. More than half of those who voted for the party in 2010 do not plan to vote for them next year - this is the scale of the challenge facing Labour in Scotland.

“We urge the party to genuinely get to grips with why this is, to have the courage to get behind the policies that will make people look anew and with hope at Labour. That has to mean the promise to fight for living wages, decent homes, good jobs and the belief that they have a stake in our country's political life and prosperity.

“Labour cannot hope to win back our people unless and until voters can point to a clear programme and say ‘these people are on my side’.”

Unite is the leading private and public sector union in Scotland with 165,000 members. It will shortly announce which of the three candidates for leadership it will be recommending to its members, following an extensive consultation with representatives across working and community Scotland.

The poll was conducted by Mass1, an independent polling company on Sunday 2 November.


For further information, please contact Peter Welsh on 07810 157931 or Pauline Doyle on 07976 832 861.

Notes to editors: 

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.