THE SNP is facing calls to distance itself from the 'Labour for Independence' campaign group after claims it was a sham organisation being used to mislead voters.

It emerged yesterday that many activists and supporters were high-profile SNP members.

Pictures showed the Nationalist leader of East Ayrhsire Council, Douglas Reid, and Greg Hepburn, an official in the SNP's youth wing, campaigning for Labour for Independence.

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Three SNP councillors from Midlothian, Owen Thompson, Andrew Coventry and Derek George Rosie, were pictured holding up a Labour for Independence banner. An SNP MSP, Christian Allard, has called himself as a supporter.

Labour for Independence was set up a year ago by a paid-up Labour member, Allan Grogan, an ex-professional wrestler who had the ring name "The Natural".

Scottish Labour deputy leader Anas Sarwar called it a sham. He said: "For prominent MSPs, council leaders and party officials to masquerade as Labour supporters to give a false impression about their campaign is disrespectful to ordinary Scots who want to make a decision on our future based on the facts."

Labour for Independence says it is open to Labour members, supporters, voters and "future members".

An SNP spokesman said: "The Labour for Independence group is organised by members of the Labour Party. Others who support a Yes vote are perfectly entitled to campaign across party boundaries with them, including obviously SNP members."

In a statement, Mr Grogan said: "Membership is open to all who are committed to an independent Scotland and the restoration of a real Labour Party at the heart of it.

"Members cannot belong to a political party other than the Labour Party."