JIM Murphy is “trying to pick a fight” with Labour bosses in London with his plans to use cash raised from a mansions tax to fund 1,000 extra nurses north of the border, his Tory rival Ruth Davidson claimed.
Earlier this week the Scottish Labour leader announced he would use cash from the party’s planned levy on homes worth more than £2 million to fund the additional NHS staff.
But Mr Murphy has come under attack, including from within his own party, for the move.
Labour left-winger Diane Abbot hit out yesterday, saying: “He just thinks he can buy Scottish votes with money expropriated from London.”
Dame Tessa Jowell, a former Labour cabinet minister, was also critical, arguing that the UK capital could not “simply act as the cash cow for the rest of the UK”.
Conservative Mayor of London Boris Johnson said Mr Murphy wants to “mug” people in the South East to “bribe” voters in Scotland into backing Labour rather than the SNP.
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And today, Ms Davidson claimed Mr Murphy’s proposal “isn’t about nurses and it isn’t about health”, claiming it is about him “wanting to try to be the big man up here and pick a fight”.
Mr Murphy’s predecessor Johann Lamont stood down suddenly last year, accusing Labour leaders in London of treating Scotland like a “branch office”.
Ms Davidson told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme that Mr Murphy is “using the health service as a political football and as a cynical ploy to try and boost his pro-Scottish ratings up here”.
She said: “This isn’t about nurses and it isn’t about health, it’s about the fact that his predecessor left office saying (Labour leader) Ed Miliband treated Scotland as a branch office, and he’s wanting to try to be the big man up here and pick a fight.
“I think Boris Johnson, quite rightly as the Mayor of London, is looking out for people in London, which is overwhelmingly where a mansion tax would strike.
“It’s absolutely right and proper for the Mayor of London to stand up for people in London, but everybody across the UK understands that as part of the UK a person who pays tax into the system in Kirkcaldy helps support pensioners take money out of the system in Carlisle and vice versa, that’s what being part of one country is.”
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