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.

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."