SCOTTISH Labour deputy leadership candidate Katy Clark has claimed the party faces certain defeat at the hands of the SNP unless she is elected to the key role.

The North Ayrshire and Arran MP issued a press statement yesterday backing a letter sent to MSPs by two prospective Labour candidates warning the party was heading for "surefire electoral defeat" unless they backed her in the contest.

In the letter, Lesley Brennan and Carol Mohan claim voters will be "uninterested" in Labour in next May's general election and the Holyrood poll of 2016 unless the party changes.

In a scathing assessment they write: "The referendum and the subsequent debate has been an exciting time to be involved in politics in Scotland.

"Unfortunately, it's not been our party that's excited people.

"The SNP is not a progressive party but we've lost a lot of our progressive vote - our core vote - to them because people simply don't trust Labour anymore."

They add: "If we are to have a hope of winning next year we need to change and we need to show people we've listened to their anger.

"We can't go to the electorate with more business as usual.

"It doesn't matter how good a campaigner or public speaker you are, if we don't have the right values and policies as well to convince the electorate again, we will lose and so will dozens of candidates across the country."

Under Labour's electoral college system, MPs, MSPs and MEPs account for a third of the total vote.

Left-winger Ms Clark is standing against MSP Kezia Dugdale.

The results of the leadership and deputy leadership ballots will be announced on December 13.

A Lib Dem MSP said: "It's an interesting way to promote your party."