Grand master Ian Wilson added said that members may be urged to vote Labour in some constituencies in the forthcoming general election in an effort to stem the support for nationalism.

The Protestant organisation is a staunch backer of the union with the other home nations.

Mr Wilson told the a Sunday newspaper yesterday: “There is no question in my mind that the biggest problem facing Scotland at the moment is the growth in Scottish nationalism.

Loading article content

“And the Order - as one of Scotland’s biggest unionist organisations - has got to get real about it.

“The reality is that the only party you can do that through in Scotland is the Labour party.”

Mr Wilson said he would not be urging all of the organisation’s 50,000 members to vote Labour, with Order chiefs instead looking at the situation on a “constituency by constituency” basis.

But he added: “The reality is, given where most of our lodges are in lowland and west central Scotland, that a lot of the time it will be Labour.”

He added that that Lodge members were involved in last year’s Glenrothes by-election which Labour held with a majority of almost 7000 despite expectations of a close challenge from the SNP.