DOUGLAS Ross has been handed a humiliating rebuke by party bosses after he called for Conservative voters to back Labour in a bid to oust the SNP. 

"This is emphatically not the view of the Conservative Party," a spokesperson said.

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Mr Ross's call came in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph and followed on from reports last week of a so-called “vote smart” strategy in a bid to “end nationalist dominance.”

Labour voters would be urged to back the Tories in rural parts of Scotland, while Tories support Labour in the cities. 

In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Ross said the plan had some merit: "The public know how to tactically vote in Scotland.

"I will always encourage Scottish Conservative voters to vote Scottish Conservatives, but I think generally the public can see and they want the parties to accept that where there is a strongest candidate to beat the SNP you get behind that candidate.

"If parties maybe look beyond their own narrow party agenda and do what's best for the country and for me as Scottish Conservative leader what would be best is if we see this grip that the SNP have on Scotland at the moment is loosened."

Responding to the interview, a spokesperson for the party said:"This is emphatically not the view of the Conservative Party,"

"We want people to vote for Conservative candidates wherever they are standing as that's the best way to keep Labour and the SNP out."

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Earlier this week, speaking to The Herald, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar dismissed any talk of a pact. 

"What I love about this is, this is the same old game that both the SNP and the Tories like to play.

"It might have worked a little bit two years ago. I think people can see right through it. The Tories are haemorrhaging votes and the SNP, I hope, are haemorrhaging votes too.

"The idea that we require any kind of pact or any kind of nonsense like that.

"I am really, really clear, we have two failing governments in this country and the next electoral opportunity will be the general election.

"In that election, you have an opportunity to get rid of a rotten Tory government and send a message to the SNP and you can do that by voting Labour.

"And the next Scottish Parliament election, you have an opportunity to get rid of this SNP government and send a message to the Tories. And you can do that by voting Labour."

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Responding to the interview the SNP's depute leader, Keith Brown said it was telling that Mr Ross was backing Labour.

He said: “It shows just how little difference there is between the Tories and the pro-Brexit Labour party that Douglas Ross is willing to endorse them instead of his own party.

“The Tories and Labour cannot help but tune up the Better Together band again. Keir Starmer has taken Labour so far to the right that they are now just a pale imitation of the Tories - backing Brexit, supporting brutal austerity and attacking devolution.

“The people of Scotland are all too familiar with Labour making grubby backroom deals with the Tories. Just last year despite Anas Sarwar claiming there would be ‘no deals, no coalitions’ his party made deals with the Tories to cling on to power in Scotland’s council chambers.

“Labour has done it before and they will do it again. That is why they cannot be trusted to stand up for the best interests of the people of Scotland.

“Do not give the Tories what they want at the next general election. The only party offering real change for the people of Scotland is the SNP.”