THE high-profile Labour activist and Better Together campaigner who announced his defection to the SNP has broken his silence on the move, claiming British politics was now "very much in step with UKIP's".

Mike Dailly, a campaigning lawyer who has been prominent in Labour in Glasgow for a quarter of a century, said he joined the party primarily over the impact of Brexit and UK political environment, claiming he believed the Tories would remain in power at Westminster for a generation.

Agenda: I backed Better Together but now I am for SNP and independence

Mr Dailly, a frequent critic of the SNP, said: "We have the opportunity to take a different path but you have to be part of it to influence it."

A champion of housing and poverty issues and the lead figure in the Govan Law Centre, Mr Dailly announced last weekend that he had joined the SNP. A recent convert to calls for a second independence referendum the move nonetheless came as a surprise to former Labour colleagues given his previous stance on much of the SNP's politics.

In the run-up to the independence referendum Mr Dailly was the subject of a social media storm over comments made about the then First Minister Alex Salmond.

Writing in today's Herald Mr Dailly explains his conversion to the SNP and making clear references to policy decisions the party has been routinely criticised for by Labour opponents.

He said one key milestone in his decision was meeting both Kezia Dugdale and Nicola Sturgeon on the impact of Brexit on Scotland, adding: "I'd come to the conclusion we were now in a different world."

But Labour MSP and former leadership challenger Neil Findlay accused his friend of abandoning a party which had created the NHS, the welfare state and council housing in favour of nationalism.

Mr Dailly said: "If I come to the conclusion that Scotland has the opportunity to do something different, to take a different path, then I've got to be working with those people working for that and that's the SNP. It's a broad church, much broader than the Labour Party has ever been, it has a wing with a string socialist ethos, social justice values and others with different views.

"People who know me know I've been torn about the best route forward for Scotland for some time, probably a year. People have been supportive of my decision, some in Labour have not been so kind, some have been.

"Suggesting I've been offered something, that I would stand for the SNP or this was about personal gain, couldn't be further from the truth. The UK political environment is very much in step with UKIP's, we've a regressive approach to scapegoating people and fostering intolerance. I have to ask myself, is this what we want for Scotland?"

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But writing on the Labour Hame website in an open letter to Mr Dailly, Neil Findlay said: "I am genuinely interested to hear how all of this sits with your long-standing commitment to eradicate poverty and inequality and your desire to reverse growing inequity in health, education and living standards. I tried to raise these issues with you privately over the weekend but got no reply. Feel free to respond to each point in due course (and not deflect to other issues that I haven’t asked about).

"Finally Mike, I will leave you with this quote: 'There is the rhetoric of independence and social justice, and then there is actual SNP policy in government, which is frequently reactionary, punitive, and a total stranger to social justice. Not my vision for Scotland.' The quote is yours Mike. "You were right then, but you are wrong now."