SCOTS may have no Labour candidates to vote for in some constituencies at next year’s Scottish Parliament elections, a party activist has warned.

It is believed such a development would be unprecedented in recent Scottish political history and highlights the challenges the party faces as it heads towards the Holyrood poll in May and following its virtual wipeout at this year’s General Election when it was left with just one MP.

June Neilson, a Labour member in Ayrshire, said her local party was struggling to get people to stand in first-past-the-post seats as they “knew” they would be fighting “a losing battle” against the SNP and the Tories.

“Candidates are choosing the safer list option. This means that [potentially] when voters go to the ballot box they will not have a Labour candidate to vote for,” she wrote on a social media forum.

“People pretty much know the Tories and SNP will win the constituency seats so it will be a losing battle.”

She said with prospective candidates keen to stand on the regional list – where it will be easier to get elected – her constituency party had been paired with a neighbouring constituency in a bid to increase the pool of people willing to stand.

However, even then, she said, the party could “barely scrape up one potential candidate”.

“To say we are struggling for candidates to run in the constituency seats is an understatement,” she added.

Her comments were made just days after reports surfaced that Labour was struggling to find candidates willing to face near-certain defeat in next year’s election.

It is understood that nobody has been found to stand on the Labour platform in Falkirk West, while the party is also struggling to find a suitable candidate to go up against Nicola Sturgeon in Glasgow Southside, where the First Minister is likely to increase her share of the vote from 54.4 per cent.

One Labour activist said he was surprised so few people were willing to put themselves forward as the experience of running a tough campaign could be an important “learning experience” for any ambitious politician.

“Some people might think it is important voters are given the option of backing a Labour candidate in the constituency,” he said. “However, it would be quite a grim challenge.”

Scottish Conservative deputy leader Jackson Carlaw said: “For voters to turn up and not have a Labour candidate on their ballot paper would be without precedent. Even in our darkest days there was no shortage of Scottish Conservative candidates willingly fighting in every corner of Scotland.”

An SNP spokesman said he believed candidates did not want to stand as they did not believe in the policies Labour was putting forward. “This is just the latest report of Labour having difficulties in finding suitable candidates for next year’s election. They still fail to recognise that their problem is not who they select to stand for election – it’s the platform on which they are standing,” he said.

“As long as the party remains bitterly divided amongst themselves with no clear policies or vision, Labour candidates across Scotland will continue to face an uphill battle to regain the trust of the voters.”

However, elections’ expert Professor John Curtice, of Strathclyde University, said he did not believe Labour would allow the situation to happen where no Labour candidates were standing in some constituencies.

“I think they would parachute candidates in from other parts of Scotland to avoid that situation,” he said.

Meanwhile, Labour’s regional lists have become intensely competitive with Glasgow especially attracting a number of senior politicians keen to get re-elected.

The party’s former MP and deputy Anas Sarwar has put himself forward for the Glasgow list, and MSPs Johann Lamont, Patricia Ferguson and Paul Martin may also seek a place on it.

Labour members will vote on ranking candidates in January, with alternate places going to male and female candidates.

However, only those who have been members for more than six months will be allowed to vote in the internal contest – angering thousands of new members who joined at the height of the summer’s “Corbynmania” and who voted in the leadership campaigns.

It is now just over five months until the Holyrood election and the latest polls put Labour on 20 per cent – with the SNP far ahead on 50 per cent.

The National View: Scottish Labour appear to have run out of donkeys