Starmer: Under no circumstances will Labor make an election deal with the SNP

Sir Keir Starmer has categorically ruled out a Labor electoral pact with the SNP, insisting: “No deal under any circumstances.”

The Labor leader claimed Scotland’s success in the UK was “met with clenched teeth” and seen by the SNP as a “roadblock to independence”.

Scotland needs a Labor government that can bring about change, but also “the power and resources to shape its own future,” said Sir Keir.

He made a firm statement that he believes Labor’s path to power in Westminster will not involve support for the SNP, even though the party currently has only one MP in Scotland.

The challenges we face: the cost of living crisis, climate change, defying Putin are omnipresent in our four nations

It is generally accepted that Labor in Scotland needs to make significant gains in order not to depend on the support of others to form a government.

Scottish Labor leader Anas Sarwar has previously said Labor in Scotland will not be a ‘drag’ on the party’s map in the next election.

SNP Westminster Deputy Leader Kirsten Oswald accused Sir Keir of not presenting “something new or substantial” to Scotland in his speech to the Labor Party conference.

She added that the Labor Party is “taking on the Tories’ extreme Brexit” and “denying” the people of Scotland their “democratic right to choose their own future”.

Speaking in Liverpool, Sir Keir said: “The challenges we face: the cost of living crisis, climate change, confronting Putin, are the same in our four nations.

“Together we fought off the threat of fascism and deadly diseases. We built the NHS and the welfare state together. But I don’t believe in our Union just because of our history. I believe in it for our future.”

He added: “Scotland needs a Labor Government that can bring about change. But it also needs the power and resources to shape its own future, whoever is in power at Westminster. And the SNP doesn’t care.

“For them, Scotland’s success in the UK is met with gritted teeth, seen as an obstacle to independence, and so they stand in the way. We can’t work with them. We won’t work with them. No deal under any circumstances.

“A fairer, greener, more dynamic Scotland. In a fairer, greener and more vibrant Labor Britain.”

Ms Oswald replied in a statement: “Not only have Keir Starmer’s comments revealed nothing new or material for Scotland, they have reaffirmed that only with independence will we be able to, damaging Westminster control and repeated Tory governments to escape forever.

“You don’t beat the Tories by morphing into them, but that’s exactly what the Labor Party under Starmer’s leadership is doing, embracing the Tories’ extreme Brexit, denying the people of Scotland the democratic right to choose their own future and dingy council coalitions with the Tories across Scotland.

“Meanwhile, re-hated reports of constitutional tinkering offer absolutely no protection against Westminster austerity, naked power grabs and repeated Tory governments we don’t vote for.

“While Labor has lost ground in Scotland, the SNP will continue to defend Scotland’s interests.”

Over the last decade the workforce in Scotland has been in decline, falling to third place in Holyrood and local authorities before changing fortunes in this year’s council elections.

In Westminster, only Ian Murray represents the party north of the border.

Scottish Labor MP Sarwar previously told the BBC the party would be revived in Scotland.

“I’m not going to put a number but I want us to make significant gains,” he told Good Morning Scotland on Tuesday.

“If we look at the municipal council election results, we were in the game with about 13, 14 seats. If those municipal elections were reflected — I’m not saying we won 13, 14 seats — we were 13, 14 seats in the game.

“I think in the context of a UK government where we’re not just going to stand up to the Tories, we’re going to replace them, I really think we can make significant gains.

“I think Scotland will not be the obstacle – Scotland will not prevent us from having a British Labor government.

“Scotland will help us get this British Labor government off the ground.”

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