Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar has said “Boris Johnson is a disaster” and the “biggest threat to the United Kingdom” while he expects UK party leader Sir Keir Starmer to return to Scotland before the May 6 election.
Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said on Monday he did not expect the Prime Minister to come to Scotland to campaign for his party, after having previously told journalists “wild horses” could not keep him away.
The Prime Minister is considered to be unpopular in Scotland, with a recent poll by Savanta ComRes putting his net favourability rating at -21%.
When asked about another visit from the UK Labour leader – the third in recent months – Sarwar said: “Keir Starmer has been up in the campaign, I think you can see who’s an asset and who’s not.
“I can understand why Boris Johnson doesn’t want to visit – Boris Johnson is a disaster, devolution is not a disaster.
“Boris Johnson is the biggest threat to the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson has delivered us Brexit and things are so bad that even Ruth Davidson has walked away.”
Despite the attack on the Prime Minister, Sarwar said his party were focused on a “positive campaign”, adding: “That campaign in Scotland is being led by me.
“I’m in charge of what we do in Scotland, I’m in charge of our campaign in Scotland, I’m in charge of working with our members to have the ideas across Scotland to deliver that national recovery.”
When pushed on whether Sir Keir would return to Scotland, he said: “We’ll see – my intention is that I believe he is going to come back up.
“I’m happy to engage on that one and let you know when he’s back up.”
Sarwar also said he will “work with anyone” to institute a minimum income standard in Scotland as he unveiled his party’s social security proposals.
The party’s policies include the doubling of the Scottish Child Payment to £20 per week, but also assessing the viability of a minimum income standard.
The move would see Holyrood set an income threshold which Scots would not be allowed to fall beneath, with the social security system topping up income to meet the standard.
Announcing the policy in Glasgow on Monday, Sarwar said: “We do have the powers in the parliament to look at household income and how we supplement household income in order to make sure that no family goes without across the country.”
Last week, the SNP also announced plans to look into a minimum income guarantee as part of its social security platform, making the policy more likely to be implemented in the next parliamentary term, while both parties also want to continue to look into the benefits of universal basic income.
The Scottish Labour leader said: “I will work with anyone on the ideas that we agree with, but the devil is in the detail, so let’s see the detail of the proposals that come forward in the next parliament.”
He added: “I am very clear though, that we’ve got to use the powers of our parliament to make a difference.
“Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP want to try and make a constitutional fight and an argument about our welfare powers – we have welfare powers in Scotland, let’s use them to confront child poverty.”
The party also agreed with the SNP on the need to double the Scottish Child Payment, which was launched earlier this year by Social Security Scotland, and gives £5 extra per week to the parents of children with a disability.
Sarwar said: “If we focus on making the next Scottish Parliament a Covid recovery parliament we can immediately lift as many as 60,000 children out of poverty and work towards ending the scandal of child poverty once and for all.”