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Keir Starmer says SNP has ‘lurched to right’ and is ‘falling apart’

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Keir Starmer claims the SNP is “falling apart” and has “lurched to the right” during its divisive leadership contest.

The Labour leader urged “progressive” voters to come back to Labour as candidates squabbled over abortion and gay marriage.

The three way SNP leadership contest between Humza Yousaf, Kate Forbes and Ash Regan has plunged the party into civil war.

Forbes has trashed Yousaf’s record in Government while she herself has been accused of being a right winger.

In an exclusive interview with the Record, Starmer said: “I do think the SNP are falling apart. I think they have run out of road and the mask of many years, which is to argue only about the constitution in the hope that nobody will notice how bad you are in government, has slipped completely.

“They’ve descended into an internal wrangle where they are bitterly accusing each other of being pretty well unfit for office on the basis of their appalling record.”

With the contest dominated by Forbes’ personal opposition to abortion and same sex marriage, Starmer said: “They are showing that they’re not truly a progressive party. They’re not truly the party of change. They’re actually the party that’s run out of ideas, run out of hope.

“I do think there’s a real lurch to the right. I think it exposes the SNP as a party that hasn’t got a common thread running through it.

“Some of the stuff that’s been coming out in these debates is very much to the Right. People would recoil from it, when it comes to discussions about family rights, abortion rights. It shows a party that’s completely disorientated without any core progressive value.”

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He was also asked about his message to soft SNP voters who were appalled at the infighting: “I’m humble about this. I do not make any assumptions that a voter who is disenchanted, disaffected with the SNP because of this collapse into infighting, necessarily moves to the Labour Party.

“If you’re progressive, if you want change, if you see a better future for Scotland, where the economy is thriving, where we are rushing towards the next generation of green jobs, if you want a Scotland with better public services and opportunities for every child and a safer Scotland, then that change is on offer. And that change is with Labour

He also said: “For families across Scotland that are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis, to see the SNP descend into this squabble, talking and arguing with themselves – not about the budget or the cost of living but about how bad their record has been in Government – I think most people with think what on Earth are you doing?”

Starmer was also asked if extra powers will be devolved to Holyrood if he becomes Prime Minister: “Yeah, I want to see as much decision-making devolved as possible. Whether it’s [to] the Scottish Parliament or beyond that.”

He said: “Our argument on that central mission on economic growth is bound up with that question of devolution.”

A trickier issue for Labour is on what do with Holyrood legislation on gender recognition reform that has been blocked by the UK Government.

Asked how a Labour Government would resolve the issue, he said: “We need to understand why we’re in the mess. And we’re in the mess because you’ve got an SNP Government that is using this as a sort of a dividing line on the constitution.

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You’ve got a government in Westminster that’s using this as a dividing line on culture wars. And that means we’re not making any meaningful progress at all. So nobody is gaining from this.

“Certainly if there’s a Labour government there ought to be a reset moment on this where we go back to the drawing board and look at this again.”

He also appeared to aim a dig at MSPs who passed the legislation: “What’s happened in Scotland is a reminder that if you want change, you have to carry the public with you.”

He also said: “Gender recognition will not be one of the priorities of the incoming government.”

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Birminghamgist Staff is a News Reporter, making waves in the UK with insightful and Engaging reporting.

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