Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP are “too busy fighting among themselves to fight for the Scottish people”, Keir Starmer has said
Ahead of launching his party’s May election campaign, the UK leader said his party is “reconnecting” with voters while the SNP descends into in-fighting.
He will use a campaign launch speech to say that Anas Sarwar will “focus on what unites Scotland”.
And Starmer described Sarwar as Scottish Labour’s “brilliant new leader” for the May 6 poll.
Starmer said: “After everything we’ve been through in the last year, the last thing we need now is more division.
“Yet, in Scotland, the SNP have shown they’re too busy fighting among themselves to fight for the Scottish people. Their 13 years in power has seen child poverty rise and educational standards fall.
“Scotland now has the lowest life expectancy in Western Europe and the highest number of drug deaths.”
He added: “It’s a record of shame and yet the SNP’s only priority is another divisive referendum.”
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Sarwar will tell the campaign event on Thursday that after coming through the coronavirus crisis, the UK “can’t go back to the old politics of fighting each other, while our NHS loses out on funding”.
He said: “Under my leadership we will offer a vision of hope and ambition for the future. We won’t talk about what Scotland can’t do; but what we can do.”
“We will outline an NHS restart plan, so that our health service never again has to choose between treating a virus or treating cancer.
“We will propose a catch-up plan in our schools, because I won’t let a generation of children go forgotten.
“And we will set out a real vision for jobs, for now and for the future.”
Starmer’s speech comes weeks after Sarwar took over as Scottish leader from Richard Leonard and eleven months after he succeeded Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader.
Starmer said since then Labour has “changed” and is “reconnecting with the British people in every region and nation of the United Kingdom.”
But SNP depute leader Keith Brown said: “A vote for Labour is a vote to let Boris Johnson decide Scotland’s future.
“They’ve made it clear that anyone who supports the right of the Scottish people to choose our own future is not welcome in the party.
“By threatening to block Scotland’s democratic right to hold an independence referendum, Labour are demonstrating the same old arrogant and ignorant approach that has alienated their traditional supporters and led to voters abandoning them in droves.”