LABOUR support in Scotland is falling “like snow off a dyke” and will see the SNP win seats back this December, Humza Yousaf claims.

The Justice Secretary said he was “confident” of gains after the first full week of General Election campaigning and a two-day Scots tour by Jeremy Corbyn which was marked by confusion over his party’s indyref2 position.

Campaigning in Glasgow North East, which Labour’s Paul Sweeney won from the SNP in 2017, Yousaf said: “Labour’s support that they had in 2017 is falling off like snow off a dyke. I’m very confident we are going to do a lot better.”

Labour gained six seats from the SNP last time, and Sweeney denied Yousaf’s claims, saying: “Mr Yousaf’s bluster simply does not correspond to the response we are getting in the community. Old Labour voters, SNP voters, non-voters, all are flocking to Labour.”

Despite Sweeney’s claims, polling expert Professor Sir John Curtice raised questions about Labour’s chances in Scotland on December 12 – and said the party faces a “dilemma” over its independence stance.

Appearing on BBC Radio Scotland, he said the idea that Labour supporters are anti-independence is a “widespread misapprehension”, stating: “If you look at the polling evidence in Scotland, sure, a majority of Labour voters in Scotland are in favour of staying inside the Union.

“But the polls consistently find in the high 30% of those who say they are going to vote Labour are in favour of independence.

“The Labour Party have always been the centre party on the constitutional question in Scotland, it is still the centre party on the constitutional question.

“As a result, it tends to draw support from both sides of the spectrum, but it does leave the party with something of a dilemma about how it keeps these groups together.”

He told the station Labour’s ratings are “well down” in Scotland and the party is “probably heading for around 20% of the vote”.

In Aberdeen, some 2014 No voters told Radio One’s Newsbeat programme it is “getting harder” not to back the SNP.

One student, whose name was given as Matthew, said he is “proud to be British” and campaigned for Better Together, but “it’s increasingly becoming difficult to justify that position, especially if there’s a No-Deal Brexit, if we crash out of the EU at all”. He went on: “As much as I like the idea of staying in the UK I think it’s important for Scotland’s voice to be heard.”

Kimberley, a baker, said Westminster’s “broken promises” are changing her view, stating: “It’s getting harder not to vote SNP because a lot of their points are valid.”

However, the programme also heard from a Tory campaigner and a “floating” voter who said the indyref had been “divisive”.

Nicola Sturgeon, whose party conference was held in Aberdeen one month ago, will visit the city today. Last night she cited research by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) which found the North East would be the hardest hit by Brexit, saying: “The North East of Scotland is a vital part of Scotland’s economy but that is now under threat with it set to be the hardest hit part of the UK from a Tory Brexit.

“It’s clear that at this election, a vote for the SNP is a vote to protect Scotland from the serious economic damage that a hard Tory Brexit will do.

“And with the Brexit Party pulling the Tories’ strings it is increasingly likely that the Tories – if they are re-elected – will go for a No-Deal Brexit at the end of next year, damaging the economy even further.

“Only a vote for the SNP at this election is a vote to escape Brexit, protect jobs and living standards and put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands – not Boris Johnson’s.

“A strong North East means a strong Scotland, and with analysis showing north-eastern Scotland potentially facing a huge hit of 6.3% to GDP – the highest fall anywhere in the UK – it is all the more important we have a strong voice fighting to protect Scotland from economic and social Brexit harm.”