Keir Starmer calls on Boris Johnson to show ‘leadership
The Labour leader will reveal his plans to undermine the Prime Minister in a keynote speech on Monday. He will say the party’s next manifesto will set out a programme to win power “in order to push as much power as possible away from Westminster”. This will go against Mr Johnson’s insistance that Westminster will not back Scotland’s second bid for independence, as the First Minister continues to push for Scotland to have more power and control away from the rest of the UK.
Sir Keir will add that he is offering “a positive alternative to the Scottish people” while at the same time seeking “to preserve and renew the United Kingdom”.
His speech will be the first on the subject of the Union, as he will set the tone for the party’s campaigning for next year’s elections to the Scottish Parliament as well as more broadly across the UK.
Labour has not held power in Holyrood since 2007.
The party has also struggled to win back support in Westminster elections in Scotland after being virtually wiped out by the SNP in the 2015 general election.
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But Sir Keir will offer a vision of the four nations of the UK coming together to build a country that is a “force for social justice and moral good” in the world.
Extracts of his speech show that he will say: “I don’t believe in putting up borders across any part of our United Kingdom, in dividing people, communities and families who have stood together for so long.
“I believe in that core Labour principle that we achieve more together than we do alone.
“All four nations working together to build a more open, more optimistic and outward-looking country. A United Kingdom that’s a force for social justice and a moral force for good in the world.
Scotland’s First Minister has pushed for another independence vote
“That’s why I’m so determined to preserve and to renew the United Kingdom.”
He will also say that he wants devolution, which will involve decentralising power from Westminster, to be one of the key aims of the next Labour government.
He will say: “I may be the first person ever to run to be prime minister of this country on a manifesto that will aim to win power and then push as much of that power as possible away from Westminster.
“Because there’s a yearning across the United Kingdom for politics and power to be much closer to people.”
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Sir Keir is planning to say he is seeking “to preserve and renew the United Kingdom”
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross blasted Mr Starmer for making the “same, tired arguement” Labour has used before.
He told Express.co.uk: “This isn’t leadership from Labour on the Union, this is the same old, tired argument that they’ve made before, and they’re offering nothing to challenge the SNP.
“Scottish Labour won’t work with unionist parties to stop the nationalists, and they won’t stand up to Nicola Sturgeon’s demand for another independence referendum as early as next year.
“Only the Scottish Conservatives have the strength to take on the SNP right across Scotland and the determination to stop their push for indyref2 again.”
Scottish people voted against independence in the 2014 referendum
Scottish people voted against independence with a majority of 55 percent back in 2014.
Elections to Scotland’s devolved parliament will take place in May, with Ms Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party (SNP) expected to use a potential win as a mandate for another independence referendum.
In a speech to the SNP’s virtual conference, Ms Sturgeon previously said she wanted Scottish people to back the call to hold another vote “for a legal independence referendum to be held in the early part of the new parliament” – potentially in Autumn 2021.
She said: “I’m not ruling anything out, I’m not ruling anything in.”
Boris Johnson has said he will reject another Scottish referendum
Mr Johnson has said the 2014 vote was a decisive once in a generation event and his Government says there should not be another referendum in the near future.
London must give permission for any plebiscite, but this has not deterred Ms Sturgeon as she hinted legal action could be taken if Mr Johnson blocks another vote.
She said: “That inalienable right of self-determination cannot, and will not, be subject to a Westminster veto.
“We are seeing across the Atlantic, what happens to those who try to hold back the tide of democracy. They get swept away.”
Additional reporting by Richard Percival.