Keir Starmer makes appeal to Scots who had given up on Labour and the Union
The UK Labour leader, who will be speaking just days after the shock resignation of Nicola Sturgeon, will ask voters to “take another look at Labour”.
He will say: “I don’t believe in our Union just because of our history, I believe in it because of our future. Look at the great challenges we face, the cost-of-living crisis, climate change, standing up to Putin, they’re common across our nations. Sticking up a border doesn’t solve any of them.
“But we must accept that many Scots look at Tory Britain and conclude the way out is the way forward.
“I want to address those who had given up on Labour directly. And, yes, those who had given up on Britain. I know the people of Scotland want change and hope. Not a showy, grandiose hope. What I mean is the basic, ordinary hope, we used to take for granted. The sort of hope you can build your future around. That aspirations are made of. That was shared by working people across our four nations in good times and bad. The hope that people in Scotland are once again looking to see if Labour can offer.”
Asked if independence is now dead, he said: “I think it would be wrong to say that. I think, for lots of people, their view on independence, their support of independence, goes beyond any one individual, or indeed, some of them, any one political party.
"But do I think that we’re on the cusp of it? The answer is no. If we were just one heave away from independence, let’s be honest, Nicola Sturgeon wouldn’t be leaving her role as first minister.”
Sir Keir will today pledge to lead a “bold, reforming Labour government”, adding: “For too long we’ve been stuck in a brace position, buffeted from crisis to crisis. People want decisive leadership. They want a bold reforming government and change that is a credible response to the challenges they face.
“Amidst all the chaos of Tory and SNP rule, there is a growing impatience for change, and for national renewal.”
He will say: “We won’t change any hearts or minds by sitting back and watching a battle for power within the SNP. We have to go out there and earn it. Prove that Labour can be the change that Scotland needs.”
Sir Keir will also once again rule out any deal with the SNP to win power in Westminster.
Yesterday, Ian Murray, Labour’s shadow Scottish secretary, told the conference Ms Sturgeon’s government had a “dreadful record” and the SNP would now “turn in on itself”. He added: “For the next six weeks, the Scottish Government is going to be in paralysis.”
Mhairi Black, the SNP’s deputy Westminster leader, insisted Labour had become “a pro-Brexit party that are indistinguishable from the Tories on a whole range of issues”.
She added: “Like the Tories, they are intent on blocking the cast-iron democratic mandate for an independence referendum. And just like the Conservatives they are fully signed up to the unfolding catastrophe of Brexit and the huge damage it is inflicting on Scotland.”
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