Keir Starmer told 'be more Nicola' to win back voters

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has been told he should be more like Nicola Sturgeon if he wants to win back voters from the SNP.

"Be more like Nicola" was the message to Sir Keir Starmer from one SNP voter.
"Be more like Nicola" was the message to Sir Keir Starmer from one SNP voter.

In a virtual public meeting in Glasgow - the first of two question and answer sessions in Scotland today - he was quizzed about his party's stance on a variety of issues, particularly how he planned to win votes back to Labour.

At the "Call Keir" event, he was asked by Hilary Marshall what he would do to "woo her back" to Labour as she had "defected to the SNP" because of a "democractic deficit in Westminster" and because Labour "had failed to be clear and sat on the fence" over Brexit.

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"Strong leadership, strong opposition of the Tores in Westminster," she said. "I don't think there's been effective srcutiny of the Tory party and I think the SNP have done a good job - Ian Blackford has formed a very good opposition in Westminster."

And she added: "Nicola is a love her or loathe her politician but she's very transparent and trustworthy. The way she's handled the coronavirus issue she's shown that if you give clear messages people have greater trust in you. The UK government is givng so many mixed mesages about lockdown and are not transparent - I think ifyou could be like Nicola I might vote for you."

Laughing, Sir Keir replied: "I hope you've seen that I've been challenging the government, I hope asking the questions people want answered - why the death rate is where it is, for there's a shattered family behind every number in terms of those who have died; why we're struggling to get equipment to the right places 12 weeks in; why is testing not at the capacity it should be. I've been pushing the government on the issues that matter most in terms of getting us through the crisis."

He said that in relation to Brexit, while the issue of Leave or Remain was "over and we have to accept that", the focus was now on "what sort of relationship we should have with the EU and I've always argued we should have a relationship that's right for our economy and everything else. And to be honest the coronavirus crisis has underlined co-operation is vital."

He added: "I will bear in mind everything that's been said today. This is an ongoing thing for me. As soon as we can move about I'll be up in Scotland to have further discussions. I'm listening, engaging and connecting. If you want to be a good leader you've got to listen and to be accountable.

The hour-long public meeting will be open to all members of the public and will take place virtually over Zoom. People are asked to register to attend, but everyone is invited to join the meeting, including non-Labour members and voters.

The Scotland events follow a series of virtual meetings the Labour Leader has held since being elected, including with key workers, small businesses and representatives of the BAME community.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard has said he's "delighted" that Sir Keir was speaking directly to communities in Scotland.

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