Scottish Labour’s deputy leader has said it would be an “unmitigated disaster” for the party to do a deal with the SNP after the next general election.

In a warning to colleagues at Westminster, Jackie Baillie said the SNP were trying to “steal” Labour voters and claimed Nicola Sturgeon ’s party is not progressive.

A general election may only be two years away and senior Scottish Labour figures are already war gaming strategy ahead of the poll.

They fear the Tories may claim during the contest that Labour would do a deal with the SNP - a highly effective attack line for David Cameron in 2015.

While some left wingers in Scottish Labour believe a deal should be struck with the SNP on a referendum, the leadership is staunchly opposed to the move.

At a fringe event at Labour’s conference in Brighton, Baillie made clear her concerns about any suggestion of a pact.

She told the Fabian Society event: “Unless Labour are viable, then we will lose to the SNP going into that election. They will make that election about grievance with the UK Government, they will run it as a demand for the independence referendum, and they will use the prospect of another four years of Boris Johnson and a UK Tory Government to devastating effect.”

“No matter how tempting it may look to UK party colleagues to consider a so-called progressive alliance with the SNP, it would be an unmitigated disaster, not just for the Labour party but also for Scotland."

She said: “Firstly the SNP are not progressive at all, and I challenge you to look at their domestic record and think any different. Secondly, this isn’t going to play well in Scotland - if Labour colleagues in the UK think this is going to play well with the Scottish electorate they would be wrong. It would also not play well in the rest of the United Kingdom.”

She also said: “SNP instincts are always, always anti-Labour. They brought down a labour Government to usher in Thatcher. They want to steal our voters.”

At the same event Chris Curtis, a senior Researcher at Opinium, said he believed Scottish Labour were past the “worst point” of their recent electoral troubles.

He also said data showed people in England “hate” the idea of an SNP/Labour deal at Westminster, adding that it was an effective line for the Tories.

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