SCOTTISH Labour is braced for a near wipe out in its heartlands at next year’s local elections with the party trailing the Tories in many of its core constituencies

Figures leaked to the Herald from Labour's own internal polling shows the party has failed to recover from its dismal election performance at Westminster where it returned just one MP nor at this year's Holyrood ballot where it slid into third place.

Around one quarter of its support has transferred to the Scottish Conservatives since 2015.

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Herald View: The red rose faces a withering spring

One Labour MSP said the party had calculated that it would achieve 15 per cent of the vote at the local elections in May with the Tories securing 25 per cent and the dominant SNP attracting 45 per cent.

Another source said: "The internal polling also tells us there is no such thing as a core Labour vote anymore."

Insiders also claim Labour believe will resist pouring resources into the election battle to retain Glasgow City Council after recent by elections suggested it will lose power there for the first time in almost four decades.

The results of the secret polling follow Professor John Curtice's predictions that Labour will come third behind the Tories in the council elections in 2017.

Labour currently controls - or is the lead coalition partner - at 16 Scots councils, with the SNP holding an outright majority in just two.

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The fresh polls suggest this paradigm will be turned on its head.

But while some fear Labour will cede power at every council it now holds, others believe the single transferable vote (STV) system will save it from electoral oblivion.

It is understood funding will be ploughed into to winning councils where pro-Union coalition deals could be struck.

One source said: "The polling shows that even in local elections the vast majority [of voters] won't shift from their constitution views. This is probably even stronger within Unionism so all's not lost."

Labour MSPs were briefed on the damning polling report, compiled in October, at a meeting in Holyrood just ahead of their Christmas party on December 21.

One source at the meeting said: "Of those who voted Labour in last general election, around half won't do so again with most going to the Tories.

"The polling for the local government elections has us at only 15 per cent."

Herald View: The red rose faces a withering spring

Unlike the Local Government Elections in 2012, Glasgow will miss out on the lion's share of Labour's electoral resources, with insiders claiming they will "be put into areas where campaigning is being done on the ground".

South Lanarkshire, where a coalition is possible, or North Lanarkshire, where the party feels it stands a chance against a dysfunctional SNP opposition, are the most likely beneficiaries of these reserves.

One insider, bemused by the Herald's access to Labour's own polling data, said: "The fact senior people hand this stuff to the media says it all about mess we are in.

"However, STV may save the base. It's not ground zero. Any rebuilding job in Labour has to start at councils. But it's a 20 year thing."

Tory chief whip John Lamont: “Labour didn’t need internal polling to realise what has been obvious for months now, that Scots are tired of their flip-flopping on independence.

“When they can’t be trusted to stand up for the union it’s hard to trust Labour on anything else, so it’s no wonder they’re so unpopular."

Agenda: How the sinking ship of Scottish Labour, my party, can be salvaged

Susan Aitken, co-chair of the SNP's council election campaign, said: "It’s becoming clear that even Labour have realised they have nothing left to offer the people of Glasgow after taking their loyalty for granted for generations.

"The big political contest across Scotland next year won’t be between the SNP and Labour. It will be between us and the Tories."

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A spokesman for Scottish Labour spokesman said: "Next May, all that will stand between local communities and further SNP cuts will be Labour councillors. The SNP has taken Tory austerity and plans to pass on cuts worth £327million to our valued public services such as education and care for the elderly."

Meanwhile, writing in today's Herald, Steven Purcell, the former leader of Glasgow City Council, said Scots party leader Kezia Dugdale's call for a new Act of Union was "a distracting and hollow sales pitch".

Mr Purcell said that in the face of the internal polling Ms Dugdale's "job right now is to stand up for the 62 per cent of Scots who voted to

stay in the European Union".

He said: "This means having the courage to work constructively with the Scottish Government to build the widest possible coalition to put pressure on Theresa May."

Mr Purcell added: "Labour can be relevant again, winning hearts and minds, if it re-embraces it's radical spirit of home rule."