SCOTTISH LABOUR have drafted in the former head of the No campaign to plead for Tory votes.

Lord Alistair Darling told Conservative supporters: “Anas Sarwar shares your priorities." 

But he added: “Voting Conservative with your second vote won’t help stop the SNP."

The SNP called the intervention "an absolute disaster" for Labour which would only remind voters of their previous "toxic alliance" with the Tories.

The former Labour chancellor, who spearheaded Better Together in 2014, makes the appeal in a letter targeted at voters in the seven Tory-held seats at Holyrood.

In it, he says the election is a choice between a five-year parliament focused on economic recovery after the pandemic and a referendum.

Lord Darling asks Tories to use their regional list vote for Labour, while omitting mention of the constituency vote, suggesting Labour is content for that to stay Tory.

READ MORE: Alex Salmond claims he has the means to 'destroy' Nicola Sturgeon

He said: “In 2014, I led the positive campaign for Scotland’s future in the UK. 

“We won the referendum, but the SNP has continued its divisive campaign which is so damaging to our country.

"This Thursday, you have two votes in the Scottish Parliament election. 

“Every vote the SNP receives it will claim is a vote for another referendum - even though we know this is not a priority for most Scots.

"We can take the threat of another referendum off the table by preventing an SNP majority in the Parliament.

“The only way to stop an SNP majority is by voting Scottish Labour with your second vote.”

He went on: “Anas Sarwar shares your priorities.

"His uplifting election campaign has focused on a national recovery plan for Scotland, not re-running the arguments from 2014. 

“He opposes independence and he opposes a second referendum. 

“He will put the NHS, jobs, education, climate and communities first. 

“With a strong group of Labour MSPs behind him, he can spend the next five years standing up for a united Scotland and standing up to the SNP, keeping Nicola Sturgeon focused on recovery – not a referendum.

“In your seat, voting Conservative with your second vote won’t help stop the SNP. Only a vote for Scottish Labour will do that. You may not have voted Labour in the past, or you may have left us in recent years, but under Anas Sarwar’s leadership we have changed.”

READ MORE: Anas Sarwar already recognised far more than Labour predecessor Richard Leonard

The tactic mirrors that of the Scottish Tories under Douglas Ross, who have asked non-Tory Unionists to rediscover the spirit of Better Together and vote Tory on the list “just this once” to stop Indyref2

 The same approach worked for Boris Johnson in the 2019 general election, when he asked Labour votes to lend the the Tories their vote to “get Brexit done”.

SNP Depute Leader Keith Brown said:  "This intervention is an absolute disaster for Labour two days before the election. 

“Not only have they learned nothing from their toxic alliance with the Tories in the Better Together campaign, but they are actively keeping it alive.

“Labour voters will be horrified to see senior figures in their party say they share Tory priorities. This simply confirms that to elect experienced leadership that will stand up to the Tories it has to be Both Votes SNP.

“Labour may have a new leader but they clearly haven’t changed one bit. Labour have confirmed today that they are incapable of standing up for Scotland and standing up to the Tories - no matter what they do to Scotland.

"A vote for the SNP is a vote for the experienced leadership of Nicola Sturgeon to get the country through the pandemic, into recovery and to protect Scotland from the Tories at Westminster. It is clearer than ever that a vote for Labour is once again a vote to leave our future in the hands of Boris Johnson."