Labour will seek to galvanise the backing of independence supporters who have switched to the party in a bid to oust the SNP from power in Holyrood, according to Jackie Baillie.

The Scottish Labour deputy leader revealed her plan for 2026 as she counts down to polling day for the general election this Thursday where polls suggest the party is on course for an historic victory across the UK and to win most seats in Scotland ushering in a new political era.

Ms Baillie, who is co chair of Labour's election campaign north of the Border, told the Herald on Sunday that former SNP voters are turning to her party having become disillusioned with the SNP's record in government and failure to deliver independence.

She highlighted of a recent doorstep conversation with an SNP member who was considering voting for Labour after coming to the conclusion there was "no route to independence" currently and wanted life to be better in Scotland now.

READ MORE: Jackie Baillie: Labour open to talks over Scottish visa

"What he really cared about was that there is a better future for the country, that the NHS could improve, education and opportunities for young people get better, that housing could be better," she said.

"He and I shared the same objective of what we want the country to be like in the short term. What we didn't share were our views on the final destination of whether Scotland is independent or not.

"But each step of the way, we were very much in agreement about the things that matter to people. What I am finding is that there are people who previously voted SNP who are undecided and actually now a lot of them are making the decision to vote Labour for exactly those reasons."

(Image: Gordon Terris) Political Correspondent Kathleen Nutt interviewing Scottish Labour deputy leader and campaign co-chair Jackie Baillie. Photo: Gordon Terris/The Herald.

An exclusive poll for The Herald and Ballot Box Scotland published last week revealed that when asked how they would vote at the general election, 37% of Scottish voters said Labour, up one point from last month.

The SNP were down one on 31%, while the Tories were at 14%, Reform was on 8%, the Lib Dems on 7% and the Scottish Greens on 3%.

Modelling by Allan Faulds from Ballot Box Scotland estimated this would give Scottish Labour 31 MPs, up massively on the two the party has currently, while the SNP would win 17 seats, a drop of 31 compared to the last general election in December 2019.

READ MORE: Hundreds of thousands of Scots set to vote tactically

But Mr Faulds analysis suggested there are 15 seats that could go a different way with a swing of just 2% or less.

The poll suggested Holyrood voting intentions were closer with, on the list vote, Labour at 34%, the SNP at 30% the Tories at 16%, the Lib Dems at 8%, the Greens on 7% and Alba on 2%. On the constituency ballot, Labour was up 5 points at 37%, while the SNP remained on 33%.

Pressed on the situation that while those voters may decide to "lend" Labour their support next week to remove the Conservatives from power, it might be a lot harder for Labour to appeal to them to remove the SNP from power at Holyrood in 2026.

The Herald on Sunday asked Ms Baillie how Labour planned to keep the support of Yes supporters who had switched to remove the Tories to then in turn oust the SNP from government in Scotland. 

"Because while we might fundamentally disagree on one issue, which is the constitution, we are absolutely in lock step on a whole range of other issues which the Scottish Parliament is responsible for," she said.

"The test is can we make Scotland better? Can we deliver more hope, more opportunity, more ambition for Scotland because we don't believe this is as good as it gets and I don't believe the people of Scotland believe it is as good as it gets. That is the challenge on 4 July that's also the challenge for 2026."

She refused to discuss any coalition arrangements or deals Labour might strike with any other party after the 2026 Holyrood election and laughed off a suggestion that Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has been eyeing a role in the Scottish Cabinet.

"What can I say?" she joked.

"We are in it to win it. We are not going to speculate about coalitions or deals with any other party. I go into every election wanting to win it, wanting to have those policy conversations with people on the doorsteps and win their trust in Labour again."

The general election campaign in Scotland is the biggest Labour has ever run.

Ms Baillie said her party had contacted half a million people with direct mails all across Scotland, chapped on more than a million doors, and spoken to more than 300,000 people.

She said the Labour's social media postings on sites such as X and Facebook were getting some two million viewings daily.

"It's absolutely huge," she added. 

"We are knocking on people's doors, putting literature through their doors, we appear on adverts every. We are serious about this, getting every single vote we can and every single constituency we can.

"With days to do people need to make sure that they are getting rid of the Tories. They can't take a gamble on that."

In a sign perhaps of how voters are shifting allegiances she described a "warm" reception she and party colleagues are getting on the doorsteps in previous SNP voting areas reception areas compared to the more "frosty" mood they encountered in the years after the independence referendum in September 2014.

"There were some communities where it was more difficult to canvass in. I don't think that's a secret, she said.

"But going back to those areas now, it's really warn and encouraging. People want to engage in discussion. Many are now supporting Labour again. 

"There is huge concern among these voters about the cost of living. Many are working but are on low incomes. They are really struggling and having to use food banks.

"Their incomes are not increasing but the price of food is rising, rents and mortgages are rising. These people really want change. They feel let down by two failing governments, that message is very clear to us.

"People are worried about the cost of living, the NHS, education. It's a range of issues that are both reserved and devolved that are keeping them up at night."

Ms Baillie disagreed when put to her that some disillusioned voters may simply regard Labour as the "least worst option". 

"We are the vehicle that best represents change but also hope for the future," she said.

She pointed to policies to create an additional 160,000 hospital appointments to reduce waiting lists in Scotland, set up the publicly owned GB Energy in Scotland, which she said would cut energy bills and create 69,000 jobs, and introduce a new deal for working people. 

And she also said a new partnership approach taken by Labour ministers with the devolved administrations would also benefit people.

"Keir Starmer has assembled a team of really good people across government. The difference they will make across the UK but also in terms of working in partnership," she said.

"My experience from the past 17 years is that there has been real division between the Scottish Government and the UK Government, particularly so in the last 14 years.

"It's been divisive, toxic, is not a culture of partnership. People want politicians to work together to deliver a better outcome for everyone. Here we would have different kind of government, one prepared to work with all the devolved administrations to make sure we are doing the best for the country as a whole."