Labour’s Ian Murray challenges Sunak to name the day for general election

Labour’s shadow Scottish secretary challenged Rishi Sunak to put the country “out of this Tory misery” and call a general election now.

Ian Murray said Labour had now set its sights “firmly on first place”.

While the party had been in the doldrums in Scotland after support for the SNP soared in the wake of the 2014 independence referendum, polls suggest Labour’s popularity north of the border is now increasing.

With an election to take place some time this year, Mr Murray said that Labour could turn Glasgow, once part of its heartlands but where it has no MPs and no constituency MSPs, red again.

Labour wants Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to name the date for the general election (Dan Kitwood/PA)

Speaking at the Scottish Labour conference he said: “Here in Glasgow, the birthplace of the modern Labour movement, we can turn the city red.

“In Edinburgh, we can deliver Labour MPs again.”

In the last UK general election Mr Murray was the only Labour MP returned from Scotland, though his party was buoyed by a victory in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West byelection last October.

Under the leadership of Anas Sarwar in Scotland, and Sir Keir Starmer, he said the party was now a “credible government-in-waiting”.

Adding that Scotland could “lead the way in getting rid of the Tories” Mr Murray called on the Prime Minister to name the date for the next general election.

He said: “Mr Sunak, if you’re watching, and I doubt it, call the election and put yourself and the country out of this Tory misery now.”

His plea came as he described the Conservative Party as “out of touch and uninterested in the challenges of working people”.

Mr Murray said: “They have failed in everything they’ve done. Everything is worse. Nothing works.

“Working people are poorer while having to deal with the highest tax burden in 70 years.”

He said the UK Conservative government and the SNP-led Scottish Government were “more interested in fighting each other about the constitution, causing ‘rammies’, than growing our economy”.

But Mr Murray said this meant “we can’t fund public services, because there is no growth.

“We can’t clean up the streets, because there is no growth.

“And we can’t deliver opportunity for the next generation because there is no growth.”

Ian Murray
Shadow secretary of state for Scotland Ian Murray receives a hug from his daughter Zola at the end of his speech (Jane Barlow/PA)

The shadow Scottish secretary also set the target of having a Scottish trade mission to every continent in the first two years of a Labour government, to help promote local produce.

Promoting “Brand Scotland” would be an “integral part of our plan to grow Scotland’s economy”, Mr Murray added.

He told the conference: “Wherever you go in the world there is positive recognition for our culture, products and services – from whisky, medicine and smoked salmon to computer game development, higher education and financial services.

“As Scottish Secretary, I want to lead a Scottish trade mission to every continent in the first two years.”

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