The party’s new leader, elected last month, gave a clear indication of his belief the road back to power must begin in Scotland – once one of its strongholds. He will hold virtual town hall meetings with voters in Glasgow and Fife in the hope of regaining their support.
He will hold virtual town hall meetings with voters in Glasgow and Fife in the hope of regaining their support.
Sir Keir said he wants to have a “frank conversation” about how the party can win back the trust of voters after December’s general election.
In a disastrous performance, Labour won just one MP in Scotland, losing six of the seven seats it had previously held, and took just 27.1 percent of the vote, just two percent more than the Conservatives.
The drubbing was the second time in less than five years Labour has been left with a sole Scottish MP – in this case, current shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray.
Thursday’s talks are part of a series of UK-wide events during which the Labour leader – who replaced Jeremy Corbyn – seeks to learn a lesson from the heavy defeat, which saw Boris Johnson win an 80-seat majority.
The meetings are being held virtually as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sir Keir said: “Coronavirus is a national crisis and has changed our way of life.”
He emphasised his wish to “hear first-hand from people in Scotland about their experiences and what more they want to see done to help keep people safe” during the outbreak.
I also want to have a frank conversation with the Scottish people about what is happening in their communities and how we can restore people’s trust in Labour as a force for good and a force for change
Sir Keir Starmer
He added: “I also want to have a frank conversation with the Scottish people about what is happening in their communities and how we can restore people’s trust in Labour as a force for good and a force for change.”
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard – who like Ms Sturgeon is a member of the Scottish Parliament – said: “I know he recognises the importance of winning back the people of Scotland’s trust and support.
“With the Scottish Parliament elections taking place in exactly a year’s time, I’m looking forward to welcoming Keir and Angela Rayner to the campaign trail in Scotland as soon as the lockdown is lifted.”
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Sir Keir outlined his vision for Scotland – including offering more devolved powers – last month, offering clear hints about how he hopes to woo Scots voters once again.
Writing in the Daily Record, he said: “We will have a special responsibility to Scotland.
“Labour has a long radical tradition in Scotland. Scottish socialists and trade unionists have led our movement. And Labour delivered.
“Equal pay, rights at work, the NHS, comprehensive state education, the Scottish Parliament – these are all Labour achievements.
“But Labour has lost touch with too many people in Scotland.
“The road back to connecting with the Scottish public will not be quick or easy but I promise I will make it my priority.
“I will work closely with Richard Leonard to ensure Scottish Labour has the backing it needs.
He added: “I want to see Scotland use the powers it has got. I also want it to have more powers itself.
“Change for Scotland, and reconnecting with Scotland, means a culture change so we will root out the poison of anti-Semitism that caused Labour harm. People don’t support divided parties.”
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