Starmer claims SNP is 'tearing itself apart' during leadership race

Sir Keir said the contest to succeed Sturgeon had devolved into an 'argument' on the party's record in government.

Sir Keir Starmer said the SNP is “falling apart” amid tempestuous arguments among candidates in the leadership contest to replace Nicola Sturgeon.

Kate Forbes, Ash Regan and Humza Yousaf have clashed in two televised debates in the race to become first minister.

Labour leader Starmer, who visited the Siemens factory in Cambuslang on Friday, said the contest was being fought on “how bad the SNP [has been] in government”.

He said his party was the only one that could deliver “positive change” in Scotland.

“I think the SNP has lost its way,” he told STV News.

“What you are seeing now is a leadership contest in which the contestants are arguing about just how bad the SNP record is and I think most people in Scotland are crying out for answers to the issues that they are facing.

“What I see is candidates arguing about how bad their record in government is. I understand the desire of people in Scotland to have change, but the change now is not whoever leads the SNP, the change now is a Labour government working positively for that change that I know we can bring about.”

During the first SNP leadership debate on STV this week, finance secretary Forbes said under under Yousaf “trains were never on time”, “the police were stretched to breaking point”, and there is “record high waiting times” in the NHS.

Forbes defended the critique of her cabinet colleague saying the party was “big enough” to hold “robust discussions”.

Some in the party expressed shock at her comments, with senior SNP MP Pete Wishart calling the debate “thoroughly dispiriting”.

Sturgeon defended her Government’s record during FMQ’s on Thursday, saying the only verdict that matters is that of the people of Scotland.

She added: “And that verdict has been pretty clear over my eight years of leadership, winning no fewer than eight elections.”

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