Humza Yousaf has suggested he will “be willing to work with Keir Starmer in order to reverse Tory austerity” as he revealed the two have already spoken about working together in government.

Scottish Labour has remained adamant that the party will not work with the SNP after this year’s general election at Westminster, but the First Minister has left the door open to Sir Keir to work with Holyrood ministers to meet shared ambitions on reversing austerity.

Speaking after a keynote speech on the economic case for independence at Glasgow University, Mr Yousaf appealed to “stop beating around the bush”, stressing that “Keir Starmer is going to be the next prime minister, barring a catastrophe”.

He said: “I think we should just be upfront about that.”

But he warned that Sir Keir should be tabling a “radical, bold prospectus” with him soaring high in the polls, but warned the Labour leader is failing to do so.

Speaking to The Herald, the First Minister said he would happily join forces with Sir Keir on shared goals.

He said: “We will work with virtually anybody to get rid of the Conservative government out of Number 10 given the absolute damage and chaos that they have inflicted not just on Scotland but on households right across the United Kingdom.

“I don’t think anybody in this room that this Keir Starmer is even capable of throwing away a 20 to 25 point lead. It’s not an absolute inevitability but it’s a strong possibility.”

But in an appeal to voters, the FM claimed Labour MPs will not always back Scotland, adding that SNP MPs will “unashamedly will stand up for Scotland”.

He added: “I’d be willing to work with Keir Starmer on a number of areas.

“First and foremost, I’d be willing to work with Keir Starmer in order to reverse Tory austerity and particularly, to reverse the two-child limit on the bedroom tax and various other measures that have embedded poverty in this country and across the UK for too long.

“I’d be willing to work with them around investment in green technologies, in particular.”

Speculation has mounted that Sir Keir is set to roll back his key £28 billion green technologies investment strategy.

The plan had already been watered down with shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves suggesting it will instead be ramped up to £28 billion per year at some point in the second half of the next parliament.

But Sir Keir has suggested it could be watered down further after being asked if the £28 billion was a pledge or a “gold-plated ambition”, the Labour leader said: “It’s a confident ambition.”

Mr Yousaf said that he “met briefly” with Sir Keir and Labour’s shadow climate change secretary, Ed Miliband at COP28.

He added: “I did say to Keir Starmer and Ed Miliband that you should not back down from their green investment plan.

“My offer here is that it is a win-win for everybody involved when it comes to unleashing Scotland’s huge renewable potential.

“My worry is that as the months go on, I will be less confident about that ambition and it will become diluted more.”