JEREMY Corbyn is "very unlikely" to become Prime Minister in the next general election, Kezia Dugdale has said. 

The former Scottish Labour leader insisted "electoral maths" will lock the party out of power.

It came as she argued Labour is deliberately making "overtures" to the SNP in order to secure the party's support in exchange for a second independence referendum.

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Ms Dugdale – who quit frontline politics in July to take up a new role at the John Smith Centre at Glasgow University – made the comments during an Edinburgh Festival Fringe event with comedian Matt Forde. 

She said: "I think that people who are in the business of winning elections think more than normal people do about electoral maths and the actual practicalities of how you win.

"So on the basis of the electoral math, rather than any perceived political view I might have – because I'm in a non-partisan role now and I have to be very careful about how I talk about these issues – I think it looks very unlikely that Jeremy Corbyn could win a general election.

"My reason for that is that he either has to do tremendously well in Scotland or he needs to do tremendously well in Labour-Tory marginals in middle England and there's nothing I see from the policy platform at the minute which is designed to capture those particular pools of voters.

"So as much as I would love for that to happen – I want to see a Labour Government, I don't think I can hide that given what I've done in my life – I think it's very difficult."

Ms Dugdale was speaking days after shadow chancellor John McDonnell told an Edinburgh Fringe audience that a Labour Government would not block a second independence referendum. 

This flew in the face of Scottish Labour policy and sparked a damaging internal row north of the Border. 

Asked whether she could see Labour agreeing to a pact involving the SNP to form a minority administration at Westminster in exchange for another referendum, Ms Dugdale said: "One hundred per cent, and I predicted this – I said it in my final interview as leader.

"If you are looking at the electoral map, because you have to, and you're John McDonnell, who's a very smart and astute man by the way, you have to work out what your path to power is.

"If you are John McDonnell and Nicola Sturgeon comes to your door, for example, and says, 'John, I will vote for every one of your budgets for the lifetime of a parliament and give you the stability that a Labour Government would need in a minority situation and all I want in return is for you to grant a Section 30 order so that we can have a second independence referendum', and you represent a London seat and you haven't experienced what many of us experienced in 2014, then you'd think, 'That sounds like a belter of an offer, does it not'.

"And I think that's what we saw when he was here last week, those overtures to the SNP – even the choice of language, an 'English parliament', I feel like that was entirely what that was about."

Ms Dugdale said Labour needed to be strong on the Union because if another referendum is "conducted just between the SNP and the Tories, then I suspect you might get a different result".

Elsewhere, she revealed she had so much doubt over Mr Corbyn's Brexit stance that she had even called him up to question him directly while leader.

She said: "If I'm honest, I did doubt where he stood on the EU question. 

"There was all that debate around the time about whether Labour was doing enough to campaign for Remain. 

"If he had said more to working class communities about the benefits of the EU to them, if he was more positive about immigration, if he didn't suggest that EU migrants were somehow undercutting the wages of British people – which is just not true – then we might have had a different result. 

"So that was the only time I felt the need to kind of front him out on it. 

"I phoned him up and I said, 'I'm really sorry, I've just got to ask you this one-to-one, did you vote Remain? 

"And he said yes, so I take him at his word on that and I think everybody else should, because we don't have a huge amount in public life if we don't have trust."

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The former Scottish Labour leader also spoke of her party's decision to withdraw its funding during a defamation case brought against her by the pro-independence blogger Stuart Campbell, who runs the website Wings Over Scotland. 

Ms Dugdale said she feared a six-figure legal bill after Labour "pulled the rug from me" and stopped funding her defence. 

Asked if she felt the decision was politically motivated, she replied: "Yeah, I do. 

"Although I'm not wholly convinced, after this, whether somebody who was a diehard Corbyn supporter would be provided with legal support if they were in the same amount of trouble."

Meanwhile, Ms Dugdale revealed she has kept in touch with her fellow contestants after appearing on I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!

The former MSP shocked her colleagues when she decided to travel to the Australian jungle to take part in the ITV reality show in 2017.

She said: "We have a WhatsApp [mobile phone chat] group called 'bushwhackers' and that's still going – a bit less now than it was, but we're all still in touch."