Labour should '˜ignore SNP' to win back seats in Scotland

Labour can win back more seats in Scotland by ignoring the SNP and focusing on delivering its own message, one of the party's new MPs has said.

Paul Sweeney won Glasgow North East for Labour at June's snap election. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL

Paul Sweeney, who won back Glasgow North East from the Nationalists at June’s snap election, said voters responded better to a “positive socialist message” than regular attacks on Nicola Sturgeon’s party.

The MP spoke to The Scotsman ahead of Jeremy Corbyn’s visit to Glasgow today, where the Labour leader will meet with Kezia Dugdale at a social housing construction site before addressing a 500-strong rally of young activists at the Drygate brewery in the city’s east end.

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Sweeney said the party needed a message that would transcend the Yes/No constitutional divide in Scottish politics if it was going to win more seats north of the border.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will visit Glasgow today. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL

“In Glasgow, you are talking about constituencies that voted majority Yes, but in Edinburgh voted majority No,” he said. “A positive socialist message is cutting through both camps.

“That certainly worked in my constituency. We recognised the best way of defeating the SNP was by ignoring them.

“The emphasis needs to be more about our positive vision for the country. We shouldn’t be so hung up about our opponents.”

Corbyn is expected to promise a pay rise for more than 60,000 Glaswegians by introducing a “real living wage” of £10 an hour by 2020.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will visit Glasgow today. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL

He will also use his speech to pay tribute to Glasgow’s historic ties with the wider labour movement and pledge to win back more seats on Clydeside.

Labour were less than 100 votes behind the SNP in two seats in the city and less than 1000 votes behind in a further six Scottish seats.

Sweeney believes that if June’s election campaign had lasted a week longer the party could have made further gains.

“I feel the party is still on an upward trajectory in the city,” he added. “If the campaign in Glasgow has lasted just 24 hours longer we could have picked up another three seats.”

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