THE LABOUR party has refused to explain why it used data on Catholics in Scotland to predict whether they would win seats in the General Election.

A leaked memo showed the party used information about the percentage of Catholics in constituencies to determine if they were likely to win against the SNP ahead of the 2019 poll.

The confident ‘key seats strategy’ document does not state whether the party thought it was more or less likely to win against the SNP in areas with more Catholic people, but said it would help to “distinguish better between Labour and SNP supporters”.

Last night Scottish Labour sources told The Herald the use of religious data was “out-dated” and “completely irrelevant in modern Scotland”, arguing that the Scottish Labour party would not have approved such methods if it was responsible for the strategy.

However when asked why the party thought it was appropriate to make judgements on voter persuasions based on their religion in Scotland, the UK Labour party refused to comment.

A party spokeswoman did not respond to the Herald when asked about the analysis. The party was also asked if it would apologise for basing their election predictions on the religious beliefs of Scottish people, or provide evidence to show why it was thought useful, but the spokeswoman did not respond.

The Catholic church said it would continue to publish the voting records of politicians prior to elections, but said members of the faith voted in the same way as non-Catholics.

A spokesman said: “Catholics make their electoral choices on the same basis as all other Scots, taking into account party policies and positions.

“The church has encouraged voters to assess the voting records of incumbent parliamentarians and will continue to make these records available in future elections.”

Along with religious data, the document states the Labour party predicted it would lose seven MPs in Scotland to the SNP. Following the poll, all but one - Ian Murray, MP for Edinburgh South, had gone.

It also states the party would have to make a “large investment” in Scotland in order to win against the SNP.

It continues: “There is no evidence that organizational investment in Scottish seats will deliver improved electoral outcomes...To achieve any given small percentage increase in voteshare for Labour in a seat in Scotland where we are not regarded by the electorate as a serious rival to the incumbent requires a substantially larger investment of human and financial resources than in a seat in England or Wales where we are so regarded.”

Scottish Conservative MSP Annie Wells said the : “The way this data has been used shows how far this once-proud Labour party has fallen.

“The Labour party of old fought the SNP without caring if their voters were Catholic or any other religion.

“This memo shows the Labour party of Richard Leonard is completely out of touch with Scotland in 2020.

“The Scottish Conservatives are the clear opposition to the SNP across the country because we do not take our voters for granted.”

The Green party said it was “not surprising” to see the use of religious data by Labour.

A spokesman said: “Scottish Labour often seems stuck in the past, so it is not hugely surprising that it holds inappropriate, antiquated views like this about the public.”

On Monday, many SNP politicians jumped on the leaked memo and said it showed the party was “finished” in Scotland.

SNP Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil compared the party to a Morris Minor car.

He said: “Labour are finished in Scotland. They are the Morris Minor of politics, people sort of remember them, occasionally fondly, but no one will travel in them again.”