Scottish Labour figures have hit out at a key ally of Jeremy Corbyn after she appeared to write off the party’s chances in next year’s Holyrood elections.

Diane Abbott, Labour’s shadow International Development Secretary, said it was “too late now” for the party to rebuild its position in Scotland in time for the poll on May 5.

The SNP seized on the remarks saying that they were an embarrassment for Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale.

A Scottish Labour source also hit out accusing Ms Abbott of knowing nothing about Scotland and adding: “Nobody up here takes her seriously."

The party's UK leader Mr Corbyn has been bullish about the chances of a Labour fightback north of the Border.

Within weeks of winning the Labour leadership he told his party conference that Labour would "win" the Scottish Parliament elections, despite trailing the SNP in the polls.

He has also made a personal pledge to visit Scotland at least once a month before voters cast their ballots.

But opinion polls suggest that the SNP is still on course for a landslide victory.

Scotland is not the only challenging election Labour faces next year, with key fights in Wales and for the London mayoralty.

Mr Corbyn received a boost boost earlier this month when the party won the Oldham by-election with a higher number of votes than predicted.

Supporters reject claims from many Labour MPs that Mr Corbyn’s brand of politics might be popular with the party’s new members but cannot win him the 2020 General Election.

Appearing on the BBC's This Week programme, Ms Abbott said that while May’s elections would be a test of Mr Corbyn’s leadership they would not be the “defining test”.

The London MP added: “I mean, it is too late now to rebuild the (Labour) position in Scotland in time for May."

She also criticised how the party has been run north of the Border in recent years.

She said that before this year’s election, in which Labour lost 39 of the 40 Scottish seats it held, that there had been an “organisational issue” within the Scottish party.

“What had happened was that Scotland had been a bastion for so long (for Labour) that the structure of the party had actually broken down,” she said.

A Scottish Labour spokesman said that the party was in “no doubt” about the scale of the challenge facing it next year.

But, he added, “after this week's Budget it's clearer than ever that only Scottish Labour offers an anti-austerity alternative to the SNP."

One Scottish Labour source went further, saying: "Diane Abbott doesn't know anything about Scottish politics. Nobody up here takes her seriously."

Ms Dugdale has admitted her party faces a difficult task, saying that a good result would be to be 'clapped off the pitch at the end of the season'.

Privately senior Labour figures fear that Labour could lose every constituency seat in May.

An SNP spokesman said: "This acknowledgement that Labour is a lost cause in Scotland will come as an embarrassment to Kezia Dugdale.

"Five months before the people of Scotland go to the polls, a senior front bencher has already written off their chances in May.

"The SNP will be taken nothing for granted and will be working hard every day between now and the election, standing on our record in government and vision for Scotland."

It is not the first time that Ms Abbott has clashed with party colleagues north of the Border.

In the run up to the General Election she criticised then Labour leader Jim Murphy’s plan to employ 1,000 extra nurses in Scotland, using the proceeds of a mansion tax concentrated in the south-east of England as “highly unscrupulous”.

The Hackney MP said that his proposal meant he wanted to “expropriate money from Londoners to win an election in Scotland".

Mr Murphy hit back arguing that the proposed tax was a UK-wide levy.