Scotland's voice is 'vital' at general election, Keir Starmer says

Campaigning in Glasgow, the Labour leader also set out his party’s plans for a publicly-owned energy company to keep bills down.

Keir Starmer insists Scotland’s voice is ‘vital’ at election on campaign trail in Glasgow PA Media

Sir Keir Starmer has said Scotland’s voice is “vital” at the General Election and called for an end to “chaos and division” during his campaign launch in Glasgow.

The Labour leader said the election was “what Scotland needs and what Scotland has been waiting for”.

Sir Kier said: “This is an election about change. Scotland’s voice is absolutely vital and it needs to be a leading voice.

Speaking about the Scottish National Party, which currently has the most MPs north of the border, he added: “The height of the SNP ambition is to send a message; I want Scotland to send a government – a Labour government.”

He added that Labour will keep energy prices down across the whole of the UK and vowed to “change Britain for the better”.

On the campaign trail in Scotland ahead of the General Election on July 4, the Labour leader insisted his party can “kick the Tories out” of power at Downing Street.

Keir Starmer and Anas Sarwar in GlasgowPA Media

He said Labour can “bring about the change we desperately need”, with plans to “rebuild” the economy and “get it functioning, working for everyone”.

Speaking as analysts warned energy regulator Ofgem could increase the price cap on bills in October, Sir Keir also spoke about Labour’s plans to establish a publicly-owned energy company.

Campaigning in the Glasgow East constituency on Friday, Sir Keir said the company would have its headquarters north of the border, bringing “jobs in Scotland” while “keeping prices down across the whole country”.

Labour only won one seat in Scotland at the last general election, but the party is currently enjoying rising support north of the border, with Sir Keir telling Scots they need to have a “leading voice” when it comes to polling day.

He hit out at the SNP, saying John Swinney’s party only wants to use the election to “send a message” to Westminster.

Sir Keir said: “Send a message? That is the height of the SNP ambition – to send a message, a protest, in Westminster.

“I don’t want Scotland to send a message, I want Scotland to send a government, a Labour government.

“A Labour government that can stop the chaos and division, that can turn the page and rebuild Scotland and Britain. We need that change.

“There is no change without Scotland, there is no Labour without Scotland, Scotland is central to the mission of the next Labour government.”

He said 17 years of SNP rule at Holyrood and 14 years of Conservative leaders at Westminster has resulted in “chaos and division feeding chaos and division”.

He added there is a “human cost” to that, as he recalled previously meeting a seven-year-old girl at a foodbank in Scotland who told him she could not read.

Sir Keir said that youngster was “paying for the failure under the SNP and the failure down in Westminster”.

But he told voters: “Here’s the good news, you don’t have to put up with it any more, you can vote for change. Under our democracy the vote now is with you to vote for change.”

Labour, he said, is now “humbly” asking for the “opportunity to change Scotland and to change Britain for the better”.

While he said some voters have shied away from backing Labour in the past because they felt the party could not win, he insisted it is now “a changed Labour Party” and has the “opportunity to kick the Tories out”.

He said: “There’s a choice at this election, a choice between continuing with chaos and division and failure, or the choice of voting Labour and stopping the chaos and division that is doing so much harm.

“Turning the page and bringing the change that we need here in Scotland and across Britain. Rebuilding across Scotland and across Britain.

“That’s the choice at the next election.”

However, the SNP’s Alison Thewliss claimed Sir Keir and Labour had “no vision beyond the status quo”.

She said: “If an incoming Labour leader’s priorities don’t consist of scrapping cruel austerity-driven Tory policies, £9,250 tuition fees, and the unelected House of Lords, then what exactly are they for?

“In reality, Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party are prioritising no change at all and are offering nothing to the people of Scotland beyond more of the same.

“We have a rotten Tory Government that deserves to be booted out of office, but it is clear that Sir Keir Starmer has no vision beyond the status quo.”

Ms Thewliss added: “Thankfully though for Scottish people, there is an alternative to the Tories with the SNP, who won’t just stand up for these values, but have put their money where their mouth is – scrapping tuition fees in Scotland and committing over a billion pounds to support families affected by the worst of the Tories’ austerity policies.”

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