Labour vows to ‘work constructively’ with Scottish Government if in office

Labour would “work constructively” with the Scottish Government if it wins power at Westminster, the shadow Scottish secretary has said.

Laying out how a Labour-run Scotland Office would work ahead of the party’s conference beginning in Liverpool on Sunday, Ian Murray said it would “transform the operation” by being more visible in communities.

Mr Murray added that the department would promote “brand Scotland” internationally and use “co-operation instead of conflict” to deliver for the people of Scotland.

Alister Jack
Current Conservative Scottish Secretary Alister Jack and the Scottish Government have regularly been at loggerheads in recent years (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Mr Murray said: “Under the Tories, the Scotland Office is a shell of what it can and should be – invisible in communities except when it’s after a fight.

“The next Labour government will transform the operation, making it an advocate across the globe for brand Scotland, a powerful voice at the heart of a Labour government, and an ear in communities.

POLITICS Rutherglen
(PA Graphics)

“We will make Scotland an economic powerhouse and use the Scotland Office to deliver transformative change for communities.

“This is the change Scotland needs – a progressive UK government that grows our economy, promotes our nation around the world and puts fairness at the heart of our agenda.

“Our seismic win in Rutherglen and Hamilton West shows that Scotland can lead the way delivering a transformative Labour government for the entire UK.”

His comments come just days after Labour took back Rutherglen and Hamilton West in a by-election on a 20.4 percentage point swing from the SNP.

A UK Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Secretary and his team play a vital role in promoting the best interests of Scotland within a strong United Kingdom and effectively representing Scotland’s interests at the heart of the UK Government.

“We will continue to work on important matters such as where to access cost of living support, promoting Scottish business, within the UK and overseas, and highlighting funding opportunities across the country.

“Our collaborative work with the Scottish Government, local authorities and communities across the country has been hugely successful in enabling the delivery of more than £2.5 billion of UK Government investment directly into Scotland.”

SNP MP Tommy Sheppard said: “We’ve seen the Tories repeatedly attempt to undermine the powers of the Scottish Parliament and expect it from them, but to have Labour now confessing to a power-grab plot is staggering.

“Labour’s plans to centralise power and dictate spending in devolved areas from Westminster would severely frustrate the ability of Scotland’s democratically-elected Parliament to deliver vital infrastructure projects and make decisions based on what’s best for the people, businesses and communities who live here.

“Many will also wonder if Ian Murray is getting ahead of himself in measuring up the curtains for Whitehall, taking the voters of Edinburgh South for granted.

“It’s increasingly clear that whether the Tories or Labour are in charge, Westminster can’t be trusted on devolution, and the only way to protect the Scottish Parliament from power grabs is with independence.”

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