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by Ruaraidh Gilmour
18 February 2023
Ian Murray brands the Scotland Office 'a shell of its former self'

Ian Murray at Scottish Labour's spring conference | Alamy

Ian Murray brands the Scotland Office 'a shell of its former self'

Ian Murray has branded the Scotland Office “a shell of its former self”.  

Speaking at Scottish Labour’s spring conference, the Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland criticised the handling of the office under Conservative rule, telling delegates that it is “no longer Scotland’s voice in the UK”.

Murray, who will step into the role of Secretary of State for Scotland if Labour is elected to government at Westminster next year, believes the department now “functions as a conduit to the Treasury”.    

“The Secretary of State for Scotland is more interested in using his position to challenge legislation and take it to court than actually delivering. Under my leadership in the Scotland Office that will change.

“It must be Scotland’s strong voice at the cabinet table, as it is currently at the shadow cabinet table.”

Labour’s only elected MP from Scotland told the conference that the office should function as “Scotland’s shop window to the world”.  

He spoke of what Scotland has to offer the world, mentioning; the whisky industry, videogames, art festivals, and famous franchises.  

Murray took aim again at current Secretary for Scotland, Alister Jack. He asked: “What has the Scottish Secretary been doing to promote these?

“When was the last time he led a trade mission of Scottish businesses and entrepreneurs? The last time he facilitated international cooperation for Scottish academics?”

Murray rounded off his criticism of the handling of the Scotland Office: “The Tories aren’t just failing Scotland in the UK. They’re failing Scotland in the world. As your Secretary for State for Scotland, I will work day and night to make sure that the Scotland Office is the beating heart of Westminster.”

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