NICOLA Sturgeon has hit back at Anas Sarwar after he claimed the SNP were “rattled” by polls showing a Labour resurgence.

At the SNP conference, the First Minister said the Scottish Labour leader “clearly isn’t reading the same polls as I am” as she said the SNP work hard every day to maintain the top spot they have by “some considerable distance” in Scottish politics.

A YouGov poll conducted from October 6 to 7 showed that Keir Starmer’s party had a 30-point lead over the Conservatives. A second, from Opinium and conducted from October 5 to 7, showed Labour leading the Tories by 21 points.

In a post reshared by Scottish Labour leader Sarwar, the party’s depute leader Jackie Baillie wrote: “They are rattled. [It] is clear for all to see that the SNP’s claim to be a progressive party is a sham. They don’t care about kicking out this disastrous Tory government, all they care about is their narrow nationalist obsessions.”

But Sturgeon disregarded Sarwar and said beating the Tories was “not a difficult thing to do” at this moment in time.

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She said: “He’s clearly not reading the same polls that I am.

“Anas has managed to take votes, according to polls, from the Tories and has appeared to establish Labour in second place in Scottish politics. Arguably, not a difficult thing to do given the mess the Tories are in right now.

“The SNP – and I don’t want to take this for granted – maintains by some considerable distance top spot in Scottish politics and that’s what we’ll work to maintain.”

Earlier, SNP president Michael Russell said Sarwar was "deluded"

At the end of day two of the conference, and just two days before the Supreme Court hearing into whether the Scottish Government can hold an independence referendum without consulting Westminster, Sturgeon said she was “optimistic” about the outcome.

In the event the court does not rule in the Scottish Government’s favour, the SNP have said they will use the next Westminster election as a de facto referendum instead – with a 50% vote share counting as a sign Scotland should be independent.

But Sturgeon stressed this plan B was not her preference.

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She said: “A de facto referendum is not my preference, my plan is to have a lawful, constitutional referendum, but we’ll be seeing the hearing from the Supreme Court over the next few days and there’s no point predicting the outcome of that.

“I am hopeful and optimistic [of the outcome], but there’s no point trying to second guess a court. The arguments will be put and the court will decide, and I respect the rule of law and the process.”