DURING the last referendum, they were so far apart they were almost in different time zones.

As the SNP’s veteran spin doctor and a former adviser to Alex Salmond, Kevin Pringle helped mastermind the key messages of the Yes campaign.

While as political coordinator of Better Together, Labour MP Frank Roy was brought in to repair the struggling Unionist operation.

But in the next referendum - this time on the EU - the two men will work side-by-side.

The political odd couple will head up the Scottish operation of Britain Stronger in Europe, one of the campaigns urging voters to stick with the EU in the looming in-out referendum.

Acknowledging the pair’s past differences, Pringle said a successful In campaign could also help “bridge the divide of the independence referendum” for Scotland as a whole.

Roy, who lost his Motherwell & Wishaw seat to the SNP in the general election, will be the ‘Stronger In’ campaign director for Scotland.

Stronger In has also hired the PR consultancy Charlotte Street Partners to provide “communications support”, with Pringle, who moved from the SNP to the firm in August, taking the lead on the account.

Stronger In will also announce an advisory group in the coming weeks.

Executive Director Will Straw, son of former Labour foreign secretary Jack Straw, said: “Frank and Kevin have both served their different parties well, and I believe will serve Scotland as a whole well by working together in an inclusive Stronger In campaign.

“We are stronger, safer and better off in Europe, and Scotland has an important role to play in helping to achieve that outcome, whenever David Cameron calls the referendum.”

Pringle said: “In the independence referendum, both the Yes and No campaigns stressed the importance of European membership, and therefore we can bring people together in Scotland on what is a widely shared position of wanting to keep the benefits of remaining in the EU.

“Indeed, a successful In campaign can be an important element in helping to bridge the divide of the independence referendum.”

Roy added: “Just as there are powerful business and economic reasons to keep our EU membership, social Europe initiatives have safeguarded rights for working people that I also believe most people in Scotland and across the UK want to keep.”

Theresa Villiers, the Eurosceptic Northern Ireland secretary, was yesterday urged to resign if she campaigns for an Out vote, amid claims a Brexit could damage the peace process.

With the EU giving £950m to Northern Ireland since 1995 to fund peace-building programmes, LibDem MEP Catherine Bearder said it would be “highly inappropriate” for Villiers to remain in post while advocating withdrawal from the EU.