A senior Labour backbencher has issued a warning over entering a voting pact with Fine Gael.

Former junior minister Joe Costello said the party should not be stampeded on the issue. 

He said although they had worked well in Government, both parties have very distinct policies on many issues and a joint policy programme was not practical. 

Tánaiste Joan Burton has said it makes sense to ask voters to transfer preferences between the Government parties in the next general election.

Mr Costello warned the proposal for a voting pact was fraught with danger as Labour was in an excellent position to pick up transfers from Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin from whom Fine Gael had already distanced itself as well as smaller parties and independents.

The Dublin Central TD said a voting pact would be a new departure, a new policy position and should not therefore be taken by the Labour Party without the fullest consultation.

He said it ought to be discussed at next week's special meeting and by constituency councils across the country.

Ms Burton said Fine Gael and Labour have worked well together in difficult circumstances and why then would they not ask people to look at transferring their votes.

The Tánaiste stressed the parties will have separate party platforms, which they would present to the electorate.

She said the transfer pact will be discussed at the Labour party's upcoming think-in.

Labour TD John Lyons said he would be happy with a vote transfer pact but he would be against a joint manifesto with Fine Gael but deputies Willie Penrose and Emmet Stagg have said they are very supportive of a pact.

Arthur Spring said he is positive towards a vote transfer pact as it is the right move when considering the formation of the Government.

He said the party would be consulted on a pact at the parliamentary party think-in.