One of Scottish Labour's rising stars has revealed that she was "raised by the SNP", taken by family members as a child to party meetings and fundraising events.

Former Gordon Brown adviser Kirsty McNeill is hoping to oust the SNP in Midlothian at the general election later this year.

The Save the Children executive director has been tipped for a future government job even though she is not yet an MP.

In an interview published today she has revealed of how much of her childhood was spent at SNP meetings.

READ MORE: Who are the Scottish Labour MP hopefuls?

"It's actually quite surprising that I'm running to be a Labour MP. I'm not from a Labour family. I don't just mean that my family were Yes supporters, although they enthusiastically were," she told the Daily Record.

"I mean they are lifelong SNP members, activists. Everyone that I call auntie who is not my actual auntie is from the SNP.

"I was raised by the SNP, all of my earliest memories are being plonked under tables at meetings and being told to fold leaflets, being sent to race nights, to staff tombola stands."

READ MORE: Part Two: Who are the Scottish Labour MP hopefuls?

Ms McNeill said that Labour's focus on social class, rather than independence, is what drew her to the party.

She said: "My childhood was very involved in the SNP organisationally and structurally. It was only when I was a teenager that I realised that we disagree about something really important.

"The thing that was pulling at my heart... it's intolerable that we allow poverty to happen and that there's some people globally who are dying just because they're too poor to stay alive.

READ MORE: Shona Robison: Next woman to lead Scottish Government

"Or that there's some people in Scotland whose life expectancy is so much lower for no reason other than that.

"That fixation of poverty and inequality made me Labour and made me pull apart from my family, but not in a hostile way.

"I think there's a bit of a lesson for the country from our little family. We could not disagree more on the biggest political question in the country, but that's never turned toxic and divisive."

READ MORE: SNP poll boost as Scottish Labour prepare for conference

Ms McNeill worked in Downing Street between 2007 and 2010 as a special adviser while Mr Brown was prime minister.

She is now Save the Children's Executive Director of Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns.

This is her second time as a general election candidate, having stood in the London constituency of Bermondsey in 2005. She was also a Labour councillor in Southwark between 2006 and 2010.

Ms McNeill aims to unseat SNP Westminster chief whip Owen Thompson at the general election.
Labour held Midlothian between 2017 and 2019 and it is one of the party's top target seats.

More than a decade on from leaving Westminster, Ms McNeill said she never expected to return: "I'm a lifelong anti-poverty campaigner... and that's what I thought I would do for the rest of my life.

"I wasn't looking for a new job because I love it. I get huge satisfaction and meaning and purpose from knowing that there are people every single day who had breakfast because of the work that I do."

Polls have given quite different results for the SNP  and Labour in Westminster voting intentions.

A survey carried out by Find Out Now and Electoral Calculus, forecast that the SNP would win 40 seats in Scotland, with the Scottish Labour winning 13 seats.

That poll, carried out by Find Out Now and Electoral Calculus, saw 18,000 voters surveyed across the UK over the previous three weeks to give a detailed projection of how all 647 constituencies will play out.

It used the MRP (multi-level regression and post-stratification) method - that successfully forecast the 2017 and 2019 elections - to predict the outcome of individual seats.

The survey suggested Labour could gain seats from the SNP across Greater Glasgow as well as claiming East Lothian, Midlothian, Cowdenbeath and Na h-Eileanan an Iar.

But it also found the SNP could also make gains at the expense of the Conservatives - with Humza Yousaf's party on course to win previous Tory heartlands including Moray West, Dumfries and Galloway, Berwickshire, and Aberdeenshire West.

Such a result would mean the SNP holding off Labour in key central belt battlegrounds like Inverclyde, Livingston and Dunfermline - as well as preventing a wipeout in Glasgow by holding the city's South and West constituencies.

Across the UK, the poll suggested a massive Labour victory with Keir Stamer's party heading for a landslide with an unprecedented majority of 254 seats. This would be an even bigger victory than Tony Blair’s historic win in 1997.

However, in Scotland, the survey gave a less positive outcome for Labour than other recent research.
The previous week, a poll by Redfield & Wilton on Westminster voting intentions gave Labour a lead over the SNP.

The polling of 1,000 people from February 3 to 4 showed that 34% of Scots would vote for Labour compared with 33% for SNP.