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SNP TOPS NEW POLL; 'One-third of voters back Nats'.

Byline: By MARK SMITH

THE Labour Party in Scotland is 'disintegrating' the SNP claimed last night after an opinion poll put them ahead of their rivals.

The survey found 33 per cent of voters said they would back the Nationalists, compared to 29 per cent for Labour.

The Lib Dems stood at 19 per cent, the Tories at 10 per cent, the Greens at five and the SSP at two per cent.

Leader Alex Salmond said: "The Labour Party is disintegrating before our eyes."

The results of the Scottish Opinion poll of 1,000 people show the SNP has increased its support from the 2003, when it won 24 per cent of the vote. Labour's share has fallen from 35 per cent.

The SNP claims it could take 14 constituency seats from Labour. But a Labour spokesman said: "The Nationalists have been ahead before in these types of polls and every time they have gone on to lose."

The poll came as Derek Simpson, the leader of the Amicus trade union, accused Tony Blair of betraying Labour's traditional supporters.

But a key No 10 aide hit back, saying: "The party faces a choice in this crucial debate - does it return to values which saw the party lose four successive elections?

"Or does it take New Labour and the values which have seen the party win three successive elections to its next phase?"

Voice of the Mirror: Page 6

reporters@mirror.co.uk

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INCREASE: Alex Salmond
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 28, 2006
Words:247
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