THE LABOUR party has no route to power in Westminster without winning back Scotland.

Jackie Baillie, deputy leader of Scottish Labour warned that her UK Labour colleagues had to “pay attention” to what was going on in Scotland in order to win the next general election.

Speaking at a fringe event organised by the Scottish Fabians at the Labour party conference in Brighton, Ms Baillie explained: “We were the first red wall seats to fall.

“The message isn’t just to Scottish colleagues, it’s a message to the UK party and UK colleagues -  there is no route to a Labour government that does not go through Scotland.

“If we want to win power in the United Kingdom we need to win again in Scotland. There is no shortcut to achieving that.”

The MSP for Dumbarton said there would be a “significant” challenge ahead of the next general election, but added the party had to win 20 seats.

She said she was confident the task was one that the party was up to under the leadership of Anas Sarwar in Scotland, and Keir Starmer as UK leader.

She explained: “At the moment the SNP are seen, at the UK level, as the alternative to the Tories and unless Labour are viable, then we will lose to the SNP going in to the next election.

“They will make that election about grievance with the UK Government; they will run it as a demand for an independence referendum and they will use the prospect of another four years of Boris Johnson, and a UK Tory government, to devastating effect.

“Unless Labour are a viable option again we will lose out.”

Ms Baillie also issued a warning to colleagues in UK Labour who may think forming a coalition with SNP MPs to create a majority UK government would be an approach to take in the next general election.

She said the idea would have devastating consequences for both the party, and Scotland.

Her comments were mirrored by Chris Curtis, of polling firm Opinium, who said that in England any suggestion of the SNP being in power at a UK Government level was very unpopular among voters.

Ms Baillie explained: “No matter how tempting it may look to UK party colleagues to consider a so-called ‘progressive alliance’ with the SNP, it would be an unmitigated disaster, not just for the Labour party but also for Scotland.”

“Firstly, the SNP are not progressive at all. I challenge you to look at their domestic record and think any different.

“Secondly this isn’t going to play well in Scotland. If Labour colleagues in the UK think this is going to play well with the Scottish electorate, they would be wrong.

“It would give truth to the lie that a vote for the SNP has no consequences, and somehow you would get a Labour government.

“There are consequences to voting like that.

“SNP instincts are always, always anti-Labour.”

The deputy leader of Scottish Labour claimed the SNP “brought down a Labour government to usher in Thatcher” and said the party “wants to steal out voters”.

She continued: “Make no mistake about that, they want to steal our clothing in pursuing the sole objective they have in pursuing independence from the United Kingdom.”

Ms Baillie accused the SNP of using “grievance” politics to further their agenda, but said that their supporters had turned the grievance into one against the English in general.

She said: “The SNP base a lot of their everyday politics on grievance with the rest of the UK. Their supporters, particularly on social media, go too far and it becomes a grievance not just with the United Kingdom but it translates into grievance against the English and that is most unfortunate.

“English voters do not want to see a nationalist tail wagging the UK Labour dog.”