Scottish independence: Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer pledges change, but maintains firm indyref2 stance

Sir Keir Starmer has pledged change in Scotland under Labour leadership – but maintained his stance that it will not be within an independent country.

Approval from Westminster will be needed for a legal vote to take place, but the UK Government has repeatedly ruled out granting a Section 30 order which would permit this.

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First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said her party would now fight the next general election as a de-facto referendum.

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer (foreground) and Anas Sarwar, leader of the Scottish Labour Party, during a visit to the Stalks & Stem store, a small business in Shawlands, Glasgow. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Speaking in Glasgow on Friday, Labour leader Sir Keir said he recognised Scots did not want the “status quo”, but that change would be best delivered as part of the UK.

He said his party would prioritise tackling issues that align with Scots, such as the cost-of-living crisis and rebuilding the economy.

He was joined for his visit by Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar ahead of Small Business Saturday, a campaign supporting successful local firms.

Speaking as he visited the Italian cafe Piada in the Shawlands area of the city, Sir Keir said: “The case I will take in Scotland is that we should have change in Scotland, but that should be change within the United Kingdom – a positive case for change.

“An incoming Labour government would clearly have priorities, which I think match where most people are in Scotland, which is dealing with the cost-of-living crisis, dealing with our economy and getting it growing, making sure that we’ve got the right jobs in the right places, and that Scotland can thrive.

“We’re doing well in Scotland. We continue to build our case, but it’s a very positive case for change – I’m not arguing for the status quo in Scotland – change in Scotland within the United Kingdom.”

The Labour leader has previously said Scotland is not “stuck” in the union, claiming it is a “voluntary organisation”, but insisted he would not back a referendum on the constitutional issue.

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Following the Supreme Court’s ruling, Ms Sturgeon said the judgment “exposed the myth” that the UK is a “voluntary partnership”.

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