SCOTTISH Labour has launched an all-out attack on the SNP in a bid to salvage what it can from the election by securing tactical support on May 7.


Leader Jim Murphy and Shadow chancellor Ed Balls claimed a large contingent of SNP MPs would devote their energies to engineering a swift re-run of last year's independence referendum.

They teamed up in Glasgow as a new poll suggested support for Labour was ebbing away to the Nationalists, who were predicted to take 57 of Scotland's 59 seats.

However, the TNS survey showed large numbers of Scots remain undecided, while a separate poll suggested up to a quarter may vote tactically.

Asked whether Labour hoped to benefit, Mr Balls said Scots were "thinking hard how to use their vote and what their vote will mean."

Mr Murphy said: "In my own constituency I've always built a coalition of voters, that's always been the case."

Labour trained its fire on the SNP as Prime Minister David Cameron sought to instil some passion into a Tory campaign seen as listless and too heavily reliant on warnings about a possible pact between Labour and the SNP.

Launching his party's small business manifesto, he told business supporters in the City of London: "If I'm getting lively about it, it's because I feel bloody lively about it...It's decision time; that's what pumps me up about this."

Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader will today hit back at both parties.

She is expected to tell supporters: "In recent days we have seen the opposition parties resort to the fears and scare tactics that they always seem to fall back on.

"They are out of ideas - and they are running out of time."

Labour accused the Nationalists of planning a second referendum after a leaked video emerged in which SNP deputy leader Stewart Hosie vowed to press for full fiscal autonomy, or devo max.

Speaking to activists, he admitted the policy would be blocked at Westminster but claimed that would be a "game-changer" leading to a second referendum.

Mr Balls said: "Nicola Sturgeon says this isn't about another referendum.

"But her Deputy Leader - when he thought he was only taking to the party faithful - has given the game away.

"SNP MPs will demand things they know we would never deliver.

"If we don't sign up to full fiscal autonomy, which we won't, they will say we have betrayed them and demand a referendum."

Mr Murphy said: "It is the Nationalists' clear intention to pursue a second referendum sooner rather than later if they are given the opportunity.

"They would consign Scotland to years of deepening division.

"SNP MPs will be working every day for another referendum, rather than working hard for working Scots.

"That's the choice we now face in just 10 days."

Raising the spectre of a fresh referendum is in stark contrast to Mr Murphy's strategy at the start of the year when he set out to woo 190,000 Labour supporters who voted Yes in the referendum.

Labour initially sought to avoid making the referendum an election issue for fear of alienating them.

However, far from closing the gap, Labour has seen the SNP extend its lead.

Ms Sturgeon has claimed the election is "not about independence" and said she would not take victory on May 7 as a mandate for a second referendum.

She has said a second independence poll would be justified if Britain left the EU despite Scotland voting to stay in, but has sought to dampen expectations of a clear referendum pledge in her manifesto for next year's Holyrood election.

The TNS survey found 29 per cent of voters were still undecided, a figure unchanged from a month ago.

According to a YouGov poll for the Scotland in Union, a pro-UK campaign group that promotes tactical voting, one in seven Scots are planning to vote tactically, with a further 10 per cent considering it.

Mr Murphy said there were more undecided voters so close to polling day than during any election in his lifetime but stressed: "We are asking Labour voters to vote for Labour candidates."

He said if the result reflected the polls it would "turbo-charge the SNP's campaign for a second referendum."

The Liberal Democrats have made an undisguised plea for people to vote tactically to keep the SNP out, as they fight desperately to hang on to their 11 Scottish seats.

Alastair Cameron, of Scotland in Union, claimed tactical voting could save "many" Labour, Lib Dem and Conservative seats.

He said "People are realising that without tactical voting, they could accidentally hand victory to divisive candidates who won't work positively for Scotland and the UK."

Ms Sturgeon will tell supporters today: "Making Scotland stronger at Westminster is at the heart of the SNP's campaign - and where we can use our influence to achieve progressive policies across the UK, I am committed to doing so."