Mhairi Black: Progressive Labour supporters should work with SNP

Mhairi Black called for left-wing Labour members to work with the SNP in 'holding the Conservatives to account'. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL
Mhairi Black called for left-wing Labour members to work with the SNP in 'holding the Conservatives to account'. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL
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A leading SNP MP has called for Labour to work with the Nationalists “to keep Scotland in the single market and to protect working people”.

Mhairi Black said that left-wingers in the party should focus on holding the Conservative Government at Westminster to account instead of attacking the SNP.

Her comments follow a recent report by the Campaign for Socialism (CFS) that found Scottish Labour strategists were “stuck in a Better Together mindset” and did not effectively challenge the Tories ahead of the snap election on June 6.

Scottish Labour said the SNP was “a party out-of-ideas and in a state of utter panic”.

The paper by former Labour MSP Lesley Brennan argued that by focusing attacks on the SNP, the Tories increased their vote by 5,500 on average across constituencies north of the border.

“This devastating verdict from Labour members themselves should make Kezia Dugdale, and others at the top of the party hierarchy, hang their heads in shame,” Mhairi Black wrote in a column in the Daily Record.

“Having run such a dismal election campaign, and having spent so long undermining Jeremy Corbyn, it is no surprise that Kezia Dugdale’s colleagues have the knives out, and want to replace her as leader – but Labour needs more than a change of face at the top.

“In a hung parliament, with no party having won a majority of seats at Westminster, it is more important than ever that progressives work together to oppose the Tories and their right-wing agenda.”

The MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South continued: “Instead of attacking the SNP, Labour should be working with us to hold the Tories to account, to oppose austerity, and to drive forward progressive policies.”

The CFS describes its aims as “promoting Labour as a party committed to socialism on the basis of common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange”.

Its report called for Scottish Labour strategists “to shift away from chasing Tory voters and fully harness Jeremy Corbyn’s transformational programme”.

A spokesman for Scottish Labour told The Scotsman: “This is bare-faced cheek from Mhairi Black that is frankly laughable. There is nothing progressive about the SNP, which talks Left in Westminster but acts Right in power in Holyrood.

“The SNP blocked Labour’s attempts to introduce a 50p top rate of income tax, voted down our attempts to give NHS workers a pay rise, has cut £1.5billion from local services in Scotland since 2011, and wants to impose even further austerity by breaking-up the UK. That is not the mark of a progressive party.

“The SNP is a party out-of-ideas and in a state of utter panic, with voters deserting Nicola Sturgeon in droves and turning to Kezia Dugdale and Jeremy Corbyn’s vision of a country that works for the many, not the few.”

READ MORE: Scottish Labour ‘tacitly helped Tories increase vote share’