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by Louise Wilson
08 January 2024
Anas Sarwar: Scotland can ‘lead the way’ on removing Tories from government

Anas Sarwar was speaking in Rutherglen on Monday | Alamy

Anas Sarwar: Scotland can ‘lead the way’ on removing Tories from government

Anas Sarwar has insisted the Scotland can “lead the way” in removing the Conservatives from government by backing Labour at the upcoming general election.

The Scottish Labour leader said the electorate in Scotland has a key role to play in the outcome of the vote, expected to be later this year, and voters “will not be spectators”.

Criticising the view that Scottish votes do not matter, he added: “Electing Scottish Labour MPs won’t just be about playing our part in getting rid of a Tory government or helping to form a Labour one, which is of course important… it’s about making sure that Scotland has a voice at the heart of the next UK Labour government so that it delivers for Scotland.

“After a decade of SNP MPs shouting at Westminster with nothing to show for it, it’s about demonstrating that Scotland’s voice must be more than just a protest.

“It’s about maximising Scotland’s influence and giving Scotland a seat at the table, making decisions that benefit the lives of people across the country.”

The speech, delivered in Rutherglen where the party won a by-election last October, aimed to set out the party’s stall as it moves to campaign mode.

Sarwar criticised both the SNP and Conservatives in government, accusing the parties of prioritising conflict over governing.

He urged supporters of independence to back his party to get the Conservatives out of government this year.

And looking ahead to the 2026 Holyrood election, he confirmed he will convene a Scottish Labour shadow cabinet to set out the party’s plans for Scotland.

He said that Labour would “take devolution back to its founding principles” and that his party, if it enters Scottish Government, would seek to convince people that “change is possible” while remaining in the UK.

Pledging to bring “honesty, decency and values” back into politics, he also warned the SNP “won’t hesitate to get nasty” on the campaign trail over the next few months.

He added: “The truth is, they don’t want change either. They don’t want a Labour government and they would prefer to inflict a Tory government on Scotland so they get to keep their excuse for their own failures.”

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