Support for Scottish Labour will "vanish like snow off a dyke" if it abandons its traditional support of universal benefits, the Scottish First Minister has predicted.
Alex Salmond branded Johann Lamont's party the "new Tory party of Scotland" after she signalled a major policy shift in direction last week.
Criticising a "something for nothing" society, she cast into doubt Labour's support for free university tuition fees, the council-tax freeze and free NHS prescriptions.
Mr Salmond claimed that bringing in means testing for such policies would be both inefficient and divisive. Universal benefits help to "hold society together", he said.
"The introduction of sweeping means testing across the valuable areas of society will introduce both inefficiency and social division," the First Minister said.
Ms Lamont said Labour wants a debate on the issues and to "test the evidence" about where the balance should lie.
But Mr Salmond claimed that in less than a year under her leadership, Labour is now "hand in glove with the Tory party".
He said: "As the Labour party becomes the new Tory party of Scotland, its support, which has already diminished, will vanish like snow off a dyke."