LABOUR have “given up” on winning many seats across Scotland, the SNP have said after activists were told to travel literally hundreds of miles rather than campaign in their local area.

As was first reported in the Press and Journal, the Labour Party’s official website has a tool which recommends campaigning areas for activists to target based on their postcode.

However, people in some constituencies – generally ones which are seen as a race between the Tories and SNP, or SNP and LibDems – are told to travel vast distances to campaign in areas where Labour have a better chance of winning.

For example:

  • People in Lerwick, in Shetland, are told to campaign “255 miles away” in the Western Isles instead. Two secondary options are given: Dunfermline and Dollar or Cowdenbeath and Kirkcaldy, which are both even further away.
  • People in Thurso are also told to travel “130 miles” to campaign in the Western Isles, as are people in Portree in Skye, and anyone in Kirkwall in Orkney.
  • People living in Islay are told to campaign in Glasgow North, while people in Mull are told they should campaign in West Dunbartonshire.
  • People in Aberdeen South, SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn’s constituency, are told to go and campaign for Labour “90 miles away” in Dunfermline and Dollar.
  • People in Pitlochry, in the Angus and Perthshire Glens constituency, are told to travel to campaign in Inverclyde and Renfrewshire West.
  • People in Castle Douglas, in Scottish Secretary’s Alister Jack’s constituency, are told to travel to campaign in Glasgow South West instead.
  • People in Kelso, in the Scottish Borders, are also told to campaign in Glasgow South West.
  • People in Edinburgh South, Labour shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray’s seat, are told to campaign in Motherwell, Wishaw and Carluke for the Scotland in Union chief executive Pamela Nash.

The National:

Angus MacNeil, the independent MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, said that Labour recommending activists in Lerwick travel to his constituency to campaign showed the party was “clueless”.

“I'd say that's just the beginning of Labour's cluelessness in Scotland,” he went on. “But I'm not surprised.

“Have they tried to go between the two? Blooming heck. On the mainland and off again? A nightmare.”

He joked: “They'd probably be as well to go to the Isle of Wight. It's only another few miles, close by in Labour la la land.”

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MacNeil’s seat is a key target for Labour, who are running former Daily Record journalist Torcuil Crichton in the constituency.

MacNeil (below) said the parliament did not need “even more Labour nodding dogs”.

“It's going to need people that are not afraid to talk truth to power,” he said. “And it will also need people with experience in parliament – because it's the biggest turnover [of MPs] ever.

“So constituencies that can speak truth to power and have experienced MPs will be at an initial benefit.”

MacNeil, who had represented the islands for the SNP for 18 years before being expelled from the party in August 2023, said he was “certainly looking forward to being re-elected by the voters of the Western Isles”, saying to them directly: “I'm on your side. I'm not on Keir Starmer’s side. I'm not on anybody else's side. I'm on your side.”

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The SNP also mocked Labour over its recommendations for activists, with SNP MP and candidate for Aberdeen North Kirsty Blackman accusing the party of having “completely given up” in seats in areas such as the North East and Borders.

"Keir Starmer has thrown in the towel in Scottish Tory seats,” Blackman said.

"The fact is that in the six seats the Tories won in 2019, Labour Party HQ has packed its bags and left, while SNP candidates and volunteers will be out every single day to ensure we keep the Tories out and win in seats across the whole of Scotland.

"With his devastating plan to axe 100,000 energy jobs in the North East of Scotland, it’s no surprise that Sir Keir Starmer is telling Labour Party activists to abandon ship but it’s still a massive humiliation for their local candidates.

"Unlike the Westminster parties, the SNP wants to unite the whole of Scotland and SNP MPs will always put Scotland first."

Labour have also faced criticism for fielding candidates who have no connection to the constituency.

In one example, the party’s candidate in Angus and the Perthshire Glens, Elizabeth Carr-Ellis, is a councillor in Canterbury in the south of England.

Labour have been approached for comment.

Previously, a spokesperson from the party said: “Scottish Labour is fighting in every single part of the country to deliver the change that Scotland needs.

“The people of Aberdeen have been badly let down by this chaotic Tory government and by SNP MPs who have put the party interest ahead of the national interest.

“No SNP or Tory seat is safe – change is possible and Scottish Labour is fighting to deliver it.”