STEPHEN Flynn has warned Labour and Liberal Democrat supporters their votes will be “wasted” until they back the SNP at the next general election. 

He said only his party could stop Rishi Sunak’s men in Scotland as they were the main challenger in each of the six constituencies held by the Tories. 

Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie called his plea a “desperate ploy.”

READ MORE: Police Scotland call in National Crime Agency in SNP finance probe

Last Thursday’s local elections in England saw Labour move to become the largest party in local government, overtaking the Conservatives for the first time since 2002.

They picked up more than 500 seats, while the Tories exceeded even their most pessimistic expectations, losing more than 1,000 councillors.

However, Labour's success, if replicated at a general election, may not be enough to give them an overall majority in the Commons. 

Mr Flynn said that as the main competitor in every Tory seat north of the border, and the incumbent in all Tory target seats, his party could “wipe the Tories out of Scotland” if enough Labour and Lib Dem supporters 'lend' their votes to the SNP.

📝 Sign up for Unspun – Scotland's top politics newsletter. Enjoy exclusive opinion and analysis from some of Scotland's best political writers and commentators sent directly to your inbox every weekday evening. Click here to sign up 👈

One of those is Douglas Ross’s Moray constituency, where the Scottish Tory leader has a majority of just 513. 

He won 22,112 votes in 2019, compared to the SNP's 21,599. Labour were a distant third with just 2,432 votes, while the Lib Dems took just 2,269 votes.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack won just 1,805 more votes than his SNP rival in Dumfries and Galloway, while West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie, was re-elected in 2019 with a much reduced majority of 843.

Mr Flynn said: “Voting SNP is the only way to beat the Tories in Scotland at the next election – and a strong team of SNP MPs can ensure Scotland holds the balance of power at Westminster.

“The SNP is the main competitor in every Tory-held seat, and the incumbent in every target seat – so a vote for the Labour Party or the Liberal Democrats is a wasted vote that risks letting the Tories in the back door, just like it did last time.

“In 2019, the SNP halved the number of Tory seats in Scotland – and at this election we can finish the job but only if enough Labour and Liberal Democrat supporters lend the SNP their votes.

“By voting SNP, we can lock the Tories out of Scotland at this election – and rid ourselves of Westminster Tory governments for good with independence.”

Ms Baillie said the SNP man was trying to distract from the chaos engulfing his party. 

Last week a poll suggested the gap between Labour and the SNP had narrowed significantly. 

READ MORE: Labour pull ahead of SNP on regional list vote according to new poll

Asked how they would vote at the next Westminster election, the 1,295  Scots polled by Redfield & Wilton put the SNP on 35%, just three points ahead Labour. The Tories were a distant third on 18%, while the Lib Dems were on 9%.

It's the SNP's lowest vote share since 2014. 

Ms Baillie said: “As they watch their own vote share collapse, it is no surprise that the SNP has turned to such a desperate ploy.

“This is a move from a party that is mired in scandal, out of touch with Scotland and scared for the next general election.

“Only Labour can boot the Tories out across the entire UK and deliver the change that people in Scotland need.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine also said the request “smacks of desperation”.

She added: “A vote for the Liberal Democrats means getting politicians who put the issues that matter front and centre of the agenda, from battling the crisis in our NHS to cleaning up the sewage in our rivers and getting islanders the ferries that have never arrived.”

Craig Hoy, Scottish Tory chairman, said: “The SNP have cottoned on to what Scotland’s voters already know – that the Scottish Conservatives are the only credible threat to the nationalists in a large number of seats up and down Scotland.

“Only we can keep them out in numerous Westminster constituencies – not Labour or the Lib Dems.

“The SNP recognise that fact and are fearful of it. That’s why they’ve made this desperate plea to pro-Union voters.

“But it won’t work because those voters are sick and tired of the SNP ignoring the public’s real priorities – like the cost-of-living crisis and unacceptable NHS waiting times – to relentlessly push their independence obsession.”

READ MORE: Labour insists they can form a majority government

Meanwhile, Labour has rubbished talk of a coalition government, insisting that they are on course to win an overall majority at the next general election. 

Asked about working with other parties to form a government, Wes Streeting told the BBC: “We’re just not in that ballpark of talking about coalition governments.”

“We think we can win a majority, people wouldn’t have said that after the last general election, that’s what we’re working towards, that’s what we’re fighting for, and I think people can go confidently to the polls at the next general election knowing that a Labour government is possible and within our grasp,” he added.

Speaking on the same programme, Lib Dem leader Sir Ed categorically ruled out a coalition with the Conservatives. 

He told the BBC: “No. I’ve spent all my life fighting the Conservatives.”

Asked about the prospect of a coalition with Labour, he said: “That is a hypothetical question because we don’t know what’s going to happen after the next election.”

Put to him that he was ruling out working with the Conservatives but not Labour, said: “The focus is on getting rid of Conservative MPs. I make no apology for that.”

He added: “What I want to do is to win lots of seats, mainly off the Conservatives, some off the SNP. Then you’ll have lots of Liberal Democrat MPs able to push forward Liberal Democrat policies whatever the combination of the next Parliament.”

Asked if a change to the electoral system was the price of working with Labour, he said his party would be putting forward policies in a number of areas, adding: “Electoral reform is very important for the Liberal Democrats.”

He said: “PR (proportional representation) is absolutely on the table for the Liberal Democrats. Of course it is, it has been for years.”

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister is coming under pressure over the poor set of results. 

Tories loyal to Boris Johnson have put the blame for the losses purely on Rishi Sunak’s shoulders. 

David Campbell Bannerman, the former MEP tweeted: “This is down to Rishi — the plot against Boris and ineffective leadership when this Tory Macbeth seized the Tory crown. Remember Boris turned the locals disaster of May 2019 under May into the triumph of an 80-seat majority in December 2019. Sunak has had the same amount of time and failed.”

Speaking about the losses, Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer admitted it was a "difficult result" for her party.