Labour’s campaign coordinator has urged voters to ignore Humza Yousaf’s claim that Keir Starmer will be the next Prime Minister.

Pat McFadden said his party could still lose the next election, despite polls repeatedly putting them in front of the Tories.

On Sunday, an Opinium survey for the Observer put Labour on 43%, some 18 points ahead of the Tories on 25%.

The paper also quoted a senior source saying Rishi Sunak’s party was now in a “death spiral” with defeats expected at this week’s two by-elections in formerly safe Tory seats.

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Speaking at the SNP’s General Election campaign launch in January, Mr Yousaf said it was “very clear now that Keir Starmer is going to be the next Prime Minister.”

The First Minister said Mr Sunak was “finished as PM” and the “Tories are done”. He went on to tell supporters that Labour “doesn’t need Scotland to win the election”.

Speaking to Holyrood magazine ahead of this weekend's Scottish Labour conference in Glasgow, Mr McFadden pushed back against Mr Yousaf’s claim.

He said: "The SNP used to say there was no point in voting Labour in Scotland because we couldn’t win.

“Now they’ll say there’s no point in voting Labour because we can’t lose. Well, I am clear that Labour victories are a rarity, you have to earn them, you have to work hard for them."

He said he had told his staff to "ignore" polling.

"They’re about as useful as looking in the rearview mirror of your car and trying to predict the traffic conditions up ahead. They just tell you what’s happened up till now.

"Do not ever be sucked into the idea that we are the incumbents, we’re not, we’re the challengers. Don’t let the media or the SNP or the Tory party turn Labour into the incumbents.”

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Asked if a general election victory for Labour would make a win for the party at Holyrood in 2026 inevitable, Mr McFadden said: "No, I don't think anything is inevitable, but if we’ve won at UK level that has big implications on its own for Scotland.

"We were the founders of devolution, we legislated for it.

“I was involved in it when it happened. I worked in No 10 when all that legislation was being formulated.

“I know it’s evolved since, but I was there at the start of it, and the vision of that was that in Scotland, and in Wales, and Northern Ireland you would have government closer to the people who were directly elected, but at the same time you would maintain the UK and the common bonds that have existed.

“We took the view and I still take it that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts and that, together, we had something bigger than each of us had to offer to the world.

“I still think that’s valid today and if we are elected that’s the view that the Labour Party would take."

He said the “only two possible outcomes” at the next election would be “a Tory government or a Labour government.”

“The question is, who runs the UK?”

"I would dearly like to see a situation where we had a Labour government at a UK level working with a Labour administration in Scotland, led by Anas [Sarwar],” he added.