THERE is “no point” in attempting to convince voters Labour are the “same as the Tories”, the SNP’s longest-serving MP has said.

Pete Wishart said the party’s “misfires” in their approach to a “resurgent Labour” captained by Keir Starmer would need to be “resolved as soon as possible”.

His intervention puts him at odds with the official party line, stressed by the SNP’s Westminster leadership.

Mhairi Black, the party’s deputy leader in the Commons, said in February Labour and the Tories were “indistinguishable” and Stephen Flynn has regularly used his slot at Prime Minister’s Questions to direct barbs at Starmer as well as Rishi Sunak.

His warning echoed SNP backbencher Stewart McDonald’s thoughts on the matter, who broke ranks last month to say trying to convince voters Labour and the Tories were the same “won’t get us far”.  

Writing in The National on Friday, Wishart called on the SNP to take a different approach to combating an ascendant Labour Party.

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He said: “This is the first time in almost two decades that we in the SNP have faced a resurgent Labour Party.

“We are so used to their ongoing decline that there is a bit of a novelty factor watching them climb the polls and complacently boast of gains across Scotland.

“This might explain the initial misfires in our approach to Labour. The sometimes inconsistent messaging around Labour has been gleefully and wilfully misinterpreted by political opponents and the mainstream press.

“This is something that will have to be resolved as soon as possible.”

He added: “How do we prepare for the next General Election with a resurgent Labour Party?

“Well, there’s no point in trying to say that Labour are the same as the Tories. We are dealing with real voters with real experience with a multitude of means to secure news and opinion.

“It is absolutely right to point to the Labour’s adoption of a hard Brexit and their newfound relish for Tory policies, but our job is to say what we would do differently on these issues.

“We have to highlight our core values and compare and contrast with the vacuity of Starmer’s Labour.”

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But Wishart tempered his warnings by noting that Starmer remained “distinctly unloved in Scotland” as well as raising a number of questions he believed the SNP should be asking of Labour, including whether it would amend or abolish the Internal Market Act, currently at the centre of a major constitutional row.

He added that the SNP had fostered an image as being “defenders of Scottish democracy” in response to the Tories’ “antagonistic and aggressive approach to devolution” – which he said posed problems for Labour.