ONLY Labour can stop the SNP in Scotland, Ian Murray, the party’s sole MP, said today as he began his campaign for re-election in Edinburgh.

In 2015, the 40-year-old politician was the only one of Labour’s 41 MPs to stave off the Nationalist landslide, holding onto Edinburgh South with a majority of 2,637.

"People in Edinburgh South and across Scotland are sick and fed up of the SNP's obsession with another divisive independence referendum,” declared Mr Murray.

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"People who voted No to independence are angry at Ruth Davidson's broken promise to defend the Union. The Nationalists are only able to agitate for another divisive independence referendum because of the Tories' reckless Brexit gamble.

“In constituencies across Scotland, it is only Labour that can stop the SNP. In Edinburgh South, I am the only candidate who can stop the SNP; the Tories are not at the races. Edinburgh South doesn't need another backbench Tory MP cheerleading the campaign for a hard Brexit or another SNP MP cheerleading the campaign for Scottish independence.

“Up and down the country, even those who may have not voted Labour before will know that we are the only party that can stop the SNP,” he added.

But the SNP claimed Scottish Labour had surrendered to Theresa May’s Conservatives by suggesting an electoral pact with them.

It referred to reports that claimed Mr Murray had said that he supported tactical voting to defeat the SNP but that meant Tory and Lib Dem voters had to switch sides too if their primary objective was to block the SNP.

"This is an extraordinary plea for a Tory election pact from Labour's last remaining MP in Scotland, whose priority in this election is saving his own job at the expense of the whole country,” declared Angus Robertson, the Nationalist leader at Westminster.

"Ian Murray is utterly apathetic to the prospect of keeping the Tories out of Downing Street, having made it clear that he doesn't see Jeremy Corbyn as a legitimate candidate for Prime Minister while appealing for people to elect more Tory MPs in an effort to keep the SNP out.

“But a vote for the Tories in this election is not a cost-free vote; it is a vote for a strengthened Tory government that would be free to pursue the hardest possible Brexit and plough ahead with further austerity, deeper cuts, and more disgraceful policies like the rape clause.”

He added: "Labour have learned absolutely nothing from their ongoing decline and their continued role as apologists-in-chief for the hard-right and dangerous Tory Party will be met with utter disdain by voters across Edinburgh South and Scotland."

However, it is possible that the 2017 election could be the most polarised poll in Scotland for a generation as the constitution again dominates the campaign and with voters dividing between Unionist and Nationalist.