Starmer: SNP and Tories ‘in lockstep’ by exploiting constitutional divide

The Labour leader will speak at his party's conference on Wednesday.

Starmer: SNP and Tories ‘in lockstep’ by exploiting constitutional divide Getty Images

Scotland has “two bad governments”, with the SNP and Tories in “lockstep” in exploiting the constitutional divide for their own ends, according to Sir Keir Starmer.

The Labour leader will make the remarks during his speech at Labour conference in Brighton on Wednesday.

And Starmer will make the case in favour of the UK remaining together, whilst taking aim at the record of the SNP in government at Holyrood.

He will tell his party’s conference: “I believe in the union of the nations on these islands but we have a cavalier government that is placing it in peril.

“Scotland is in the unfortunate position of having two bad governments. The Tories at Westminster and the SNP at Holyrood. When Nicola Sturgeon took office she said she wanted to be judged on her record.

“These days, with the poorest in society less well-educated and less healthy and the tragedy of so many drug-related deaths we hear rather less about the SNP’s record.

“The SNP and the Tories walk in lockstep. They both exploit the constitutional divide for their own ends. Labour is the party that wants to bring our nations together.”

Starmer also praised Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, who spoke at conference on Monday.

“Under the fantastic leadership of Anas Sarwar, Labour is the party of the union because it’s not just that divorce would be a costly disruption though that is true,” Starmer will say.

“And it’s not just that our union is in all our economic interests though that is also true. It’s that we are more progressive together. We are more secure together.”

In his own speech to conference, Sarwar insisted that the SNP and Conservatives should not be allowed to “define Englishness”.

He told Labour members: “We hear a lot about the red wall. The first red wall to fall was Scotland and unless we rebuild there we won’t get a UK Labour Government.

“But to do that we need to present a different, more positive vision of Scotland and Britain. One that is outward looking, diverse and tolerant.”

Sarwar added: “Don’t allow the SNP and the Tories to define Englishness. England isn’t Jacob Rees-Mogg, Priti Patel and Nigel Farage. England is Marcus Rashford, Gareth Southgate and Emma Raducanu.

“And don’t believe that the political values of Scotland are those of Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP – of division and grievance. The values which drive Scotland – Hope, opportunity, solidarity. Our values. Labour values.”

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