Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has sent a begging letter to his former constituents urging them to defeat the SNP by voting Labour in Thursday’s general election.
Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath is amongst the constituencies targeting nearly 100,000 Scots in marginal seats across the country.
The intervention cams as Nicola Sturgeon claimed Labour supporters in England would be “appalled” if their party allows the Tories back into government and rejects a “progressive alliance” with the SNP.
With polls narrowing, the First Minister said it was “no longer inevitable” Theresa May will be returned as prime minister with an increased majority.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has rejected a formal deal with the SNP to lock the Tories out of power at Westminster in the event of a hung parliament – but there is still a prospect the parties could work together informally on a vote-by-vote basis.
Mr Corbyn has insisted: “We are not doing deals, we’re not doing coalitions, we’re not doing any agreements.”
Meanwhile, Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said there would be “no need to negotiate” with the SNP because the party would face the prospect of backing a minority Labour administration or “letting the Tories back in”.
In his letter, Mr Brown, who represented Fife for 32 years, says Nicola Sturgeon “should focus on the day job of running our schools and hospitals, and forget about her obsession with another divisive independence referendum”.
It adds: “No matter which party you normally vote for, it’s only a vote for your Scottish Labour candidate that can stop the SNP here.
“A vote for the Conservatives, or any other party, won’t stop another divisive referendum. It will only help the SNP win here and allow Nicola Sturgeon to use the result to continue her campaign for independence.
“Make your voice heard. Only Labour can beat the SNP here.”
Ms Sturgeon told BBC Radio 4: “If there was to be a hung parliament, if the parliamentary arithmetic allowed it, then I would want the SNP to be part of a progressive alternative to a Conservative government.
“Not in a coalition, I don’t envisage any formal coalitions, but on an issue-by-issue basis to put forward progressive policies and to see a progressive agenda.”
A surge in Conservative support north of the border has suggested there could be between six and a dozen Scottish Tory MPs after June 8 – in what would be the party’s best Westminster election result for two decades.
John Lamont, the Scottish Conservative candidate for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, said: “Nicola Sturgeon made it clear today that she’d be happy to form an alliance with Jeremy Corbyn next Friday.
“Top of her shopping list would be a second referendum. And given Mr Corbyn has said he’s ‘absolutely fine’ with this, there is a real risk of them dragging Scotland back to yet more division.”