Scottish independence: Keir Starmer says more powers for Scotland would be a priority under Labor

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Labor Party leader Sir Keir Starmer says more powers for Holyrood would be a priority if he becomes prime minister.

Sir Keir has called on former Prime Minister Gordon Brown to investigate and recommend improvements to devolution across the UK to try to counter nationalist support for independence.

Speaking to the Daily Record, Sir Keir said giving the Scottish Parliament more powers would be an early priority for him if he were to become first minister.

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With Labor consistently leading the Conservatives in the polls, who are currently embroiled in sleaze scandals and the so-called partygate affair, Sir Keir has accused Boris Johnson’s government of being “paralysed”.

Reflecting on his visit to Glasgow’s Forge Market on Friday, the Labor leader said: “We have been to the market, we have been walking the streets.

“Every person that has come up to me has said ‘you have to get Johnson out.’ Every person.

“People recognize that we are now in a position to form a Labor government.”

When asked about his priorities, he argued that the Scottish and UK governments are not doing enough to tackle the energy crisis or the rising cost of living.

Sir Keir said: “I feel strongly that both governments are looking down the wrong path.

“Nicola Sturgeon says it’s the Referendum Bill that matters, (but) it should be the energy bill that matters. Johnson spends all his time defending himself against accusations he made.”

Sir Keir also said that he wants to make a positive case for the Union, including reforming political institutions across the UK based on Mr Brown’s report.

Sir Keir added: “I asked Gordon to look at the whole question of how do we make a positive case for the Union, and that is across the UK.

“Obviously there is a red line, which is that we want to keep the Union together. This is very important.

“But otherwise I’m open-minded as to how we can make a positive case for the Union.”

Asked if he sees early implementation of the extra powers plan as an early priority for a Labor government, he said: “Yes, I do. I think it’s very important to get that problem resolved.”

He said: “We need change without a referendum, but we need change fast.”

During the interview with Record, the former director of public prosecutions compared his positive relationship with Scottish Labor leader Anas Sarwar to the animosity between Johnson, some of his cabinet ministers and Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross, who has repeatedly called on the Prime Minister to resign over Downing Street party issue during lockdown.

“If you look at the way Anas and I work together, (it’s) a close-knit team always deadlocked – me, duly respectful of Scottish Labour,” Sir Keir said.

“Contrast that with the Tories, where you have Jacob Rees-Mogg calling Douglas Ross a lightweight.

“I think it shows disdain for Scotland and is further evidence that the Conservative Party is not capable of holding the Union together.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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