John Swinney: I'll work with Keir Starmer on 'areas of mutual interest'

The First Minister congratulated the new Prime Minister on his appointment.

John Swinney: I’ll work with Keir Starmer on ‘areas of mutual interest’ Getty Images

John Swinney has congratulated Keir Starmer on becoming Prime Minister and has committed to working with him on “areas of mutual interest”.

In a phone call with the new PM on Friday evening, the First Minister outlined his priorities in government, and expressed his belief that the UK and Scottish governments can work together for the “benefit of people in Scotland”.

A spokesperson for Swinney said: “The First Minister spoke with the Prime Minister by telephone this evening and congratulated him on his appointment.

“He committed to working collaboratively and cooperatively with the UK Government on areas of mutual interest.

“The First Minister has outlined his priorities in government and believes there are many ways in which the two governments can work together to deliver progress on them for the benefit of people in Scotland.”

The two men committed to meeting in person in the coming days.

The election saw the SNP reduced to just nine seats, down from 48 in the last election, with one seat left to declare results on Saturday.

Labour trounced the Tories in England and Swinney’s party north of the border with 37 seats in Scotland – up from one at the last election – and 412 across the UK.

The result puts the SNP’s strategy for independence into doubt after the party had said it would begin independence negotiations if it won the majority of seats at Westminster.

The First Minister said SNP “failed to convince people of the urgency of independence”.

Swinney said: “I have to accept that we failed to convince people of the urgency of independence in this election campaign.

“Therefore, we need to take the time to consider and to reflect on how we deliver our commitment to independence – which remains absolute.

“As somebody who has devoted their entire adult life to the winning of Scottish independence – not for an abstract reason, but because I believe it will transform the lives of our people for the better – we need to get that approach correct in the forthcoming period.

“I accept that we need to engage with, listen to and learn from the people of Scotland on how we take forward our arguments for independence.”

Labour saw a bigger vote rise in Scotland than in England.Getty Images

Sarwar said he spoke to Starmer straight after the exit poll came out as polls closed on Thursday night, and he was “particularly delighted about the results here in Scotland”.

The Scottish Labour leader said: “He reaffirmed his commitment that he will be a prime minister for every part of our country, and that includes Scotland … he wants to deliver for Scotland.”

Ian Murray, who was re-elected in Edinburgh South after nearly five years as Scottish Labour’s only MP, was appointed Secretary of State for Scotland.

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