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by Louise Wilson
26 February 2021
Next Scottish Labour leader must ‘articulate the purpose’ of UK

Jane Barlow/PA Archive/PA Images

Next Scottish Labour leader must ‘articulate the purpose’ of UK

Scottish Labour must “articulate the purpose of the United Kingdom” if it is to survive, a report from two thinktanks has concluded.

The Federation for European Progressive Studies and the Scottish Fabians have urged the party to “engage directly” with questions of national identity and assert itself as “pro-UK, pro-devolution and pro-Scottish”.

They also said the Scottish Parliament “needs reform to make it fit for the next generation”, as polling found continued confusion among the public about the devolution settlement.

The report said while there may be a “strong argument” for further devolution, the parliament should use its current powers to “change people’s lives”.

It has been published the day before the next leader of Scottish Labour is announced, after a brief campaign between Monica Lennon and Anas Sarwar.

Author of the report Martin McCluskey said: “Scottish Labour has languished for the past decade, struggling to adapt to a changed political landscape.

“Emerging from the coronavirus crisis and Brexit, there is an appetite for change in our politics, but Labour has not been strong enough to spell out what change can look like.”

Meanwhile the Scottish Conservatives have urged the next leader of Scottish Labour to rule out working with the SNP.

In a pre-election speech today, Douglas Ross will say “an SNP majority can be stopped” but Labour must not “prop up the SNP after the election”.

He will add: “In election after election, Labour voters have lent their vote to the Scottish Conservatives because they know we will always stand up to the SNP. Unlike the weak Labour party of today, a shadow of its former self, our opposition to indyref2 will never waver.

“Just like in 2016 when we stopped an SNP majority, we are the natural home for any traditional Labour voter who wants their government focused on rebuilding Scotland, not another divisive referendum.”

Read the most recent article written by Louise Wilson - Long COVID raises hope for 'forgotten' people with chronic illnesses

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