Starmer: No referendum for Scotland or going back on gender reform bill

The Labour leader categorically ruled out negotiations with the SNP on leaving the UK.

A UK Labour government would not grant a second Scottish independence referendum in the event the SNP wins a majority of the seats in Scotland, Keir Starmer has said.

The Labour leader told journalists that if he becomes prime minister after July 4 he would refuse to take part in any negotiations on the constitution with First Minister John Swinney.

The SNP manifesto has pledged to immediately begin negotiations with Westminster on independence if it returns a majority of SNP MPs to the House of Commons.

John Swinney said a vote for the SNP is a vote for independence.Getty Images

The policy, voted in by the party under Humza Yousaf’s leadership, has been slapped down by both the Tories and Labour.

Speaking to Bauer Media during a visit to businesses north of the border, Starmer was asked if he would deal with the Scottish Government if the threshold was met.

“No,” he said.

Polls suggest the SNP could lose seats to a resurgent Labour in Scotland as their lead slips.

The Labour leader also confirmed he would not lift the block on the Scottish Government’s controversial gender reforms.

Under the leadership of Nicola Sturgeon, the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill was passed in Holyrood in 2021.

But a Section 35 order was later issued by Scottish secretary Alister Jack to stop the legislation receiving royal assent.

Despite calls from the SNP and the Scottish Greens for a Starmer government to lift the block, the Labour leader told journalists on Friday he would not do so.

The policy was voted through by a majority of the Scottish Parliament, including Scottish Labour.

But Starmer said: “No, there would be no change of position on that.

“I think there’s a lot to learn about gender self-ID from the way in which it’s been dealt with here in Scotland, which is why we’ve got a different proposition in our manifesto.”

Starmer attacked Swinney during his visit, saying the First Minister had “got his priorities wrong” in the election.

This week, the First Minister urged Scots to vote for his party to put pressure on the next UK Government to allow another independence referendum.

Speaking to journalists during a visit to Scotland, the Labour leader said: “I think he’s got his priorities wrong.”

His priority was to ensure a “strong economy” and create jobs, Sir Keir said.

He added: “The ambition between the SNP and Labour is stark.

“We say elect Labour MPs in Scotland so they can sit at the heart of an incoming Labour government, bringing about the change that I think so many people in Scotland want.

“What the SNP says is send an MP to send a message, to sit literally on the opposition benches and shout across the aisle.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code