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Labour's new Scottish leader calls for a fresh start

Scotland's new Labour leader Jim Murphy said his election signaled a "fresh start" for the ailing party as he declared next year's general election would be a referendum on whether David Cameron remains as Prime Minister.

Mr Murphy said he was confident under his leadership Labour would not lose any Scottish MPs to the the SNP in May's election. His comments come as a new poll suggests support for the SNP is at a record high.

Scotland Correspondent Debi Edwards reports.

Poll suggests SNP support has reached record level

Results of a YouGov poll released today suggest support for Scotland's SNP party has reached record levels.

SNP support has surged to 47% according to a new YouGov poll Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Carried out on behalf of The Sun newspaper, the poll indicated 47% of people in Scotland intend to vote SNP at the general election, 27% are expected to vote Labour, 16% are likely to vote Conservative and just 3% are predicted to back the Lib Dems.

The results of the pre-election poll came on the same day that Scottish Labour elected MP Jim Murphy as its new leader.

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Murphy: Scotland is 'one country but two nations'

Jim Murphy and new deputy leader Kezia Dugdale. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

New Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy stressed the need to "unite" Scotland, calling it "one country but nations".

Speaking after he was elected to replace Johann Lamont, Murphy said the divide was not one caused by the independence referendum, but instead between the haves and have-nots.

The majority are fulfilled, getting on, getting by, being successful. A minority are falling behind, denied opportunity, trapped, unable to escape the hardship of their upbringing.

That inequality is wrong and it is my driving purpose, it is our driving purpose, it is the Scottish Labour Party's driving purpose to end that type of inequality once and for all.

– Jim Murphy, new Scottish Labour leader

He did, however, appeal to voters who backed independence, saying he had more in common with "the values of the many hundreds of thousands who voted Yes in the referendum than with many of the political leaders who campaigned for No".

Jim Murphy elected Scottish Labour leader

Jim Murphy. Credit: PA

Jim Murphy has been elected leader of the Scottish Labour Party.

Mr Murphy, MP for East Renfrewshire, was elected with more than half of the vote, ahead of Holyrood health spokesman Neil Finlay and former Scottish Executive minister Sarah Boyack.

The leadership contest was sparked when Johann Lamont stood down suddenly, accusing colleagues in Westminster of treating Scotland like a "branch office".

Kezia Dugdale, MP for the Lothian region, was also elected as the party's deputy leader.

Scottish Labour to announce new leader

Scottish Labour leadership candidates (left to right) of Sarah Boyack, Neil Findlay and Jim Murphy. Credit: PA

Scottish Labour will announce who its new leader is later today.

Former Scottish secretary Jim Murphy, Holyrood health spokesman Neil Finlay and former Scottish Executive minister Sarah Boyack are all vying to take on the job.

The leadership contest was sparked when Johann Lamont stood down suddenly, accusing colleagues in Westminster of treating Scotland like a "branch office".

Labour's Lamont lament as Scottish leader resigns

Mr Murphy, who played a high-profile role in the Better Together campaign, is the bookies' favourite to win.

However, Mr Findlay has attracted strong support from the trade unions.

Scottish Labour's new deputy leader will also be declared, with North Ayrshire and Arran MP Katy Clark and Lothian MSP Kezia Dugdale competing for the position.

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MP 'sorry for error' in suggesting fisheries job 'not for women'

A Labour MP has apologised after he suggested the post of fisheries minister was not a suitable job for a woman.

Frank Doran came under fire after remarking during a Commons debate that he was "not sure it is a job for a woman".

Aberdeen North MP Frank Doran insists his comments were not sexist. Credit: PA

He initially insisted he was not being sexist because "I know the fishing industry". But in a statement last night the Aberdeen North MP said:

I apologise for what I said earlier.

It was an error of judgment which does not represent my view or the Labour Party's.

– Frank Doran, MP

No new policy, but a change of tone from Miliband

Ed Miliband delivered a speech on the public finances today that was short of new policy detail, but marked a change in tone from the Labour leader.

He has committed his party to balancing the book over the course of the next Parliament.

This would mean budgets falling across Whitehall, except in "a limited number of protected departments", Mr Miliband said.

ITV News Political Editor Tom Bradby reports.

Miliband denies there's 'nothing new' in policy speech

Ed Miliband has denied his economic policy speech contained "nothing new" after ITV News Political Editor Tom Bradby questioned the Labour leader.

"I don't agree with that Tom, it won't surprise you to know," Miliband said.

"We're setting out ... what the backdrop will be for a Labour government."

"I'm saying very clearly that outside a limited number of protected departments, budgets will be falling year-on-year until we have the current budget in balance," he added.

Miliband makes his first pledge ahead of the election

Labour leader Ed Miliband has made his first pledge ahead of next year's General Election - to "balance the books".

ITV News Westminster Producer Adam Smith reports:

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