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by Ruaraidh Gilmour
10 October 2023
Scotland 'can lead the way' to a Labour government, Starmer to say

Starmer will deliver a speech to Labour members later today | Alamy

Scotland 'can lead the way' to a Labour government, Starmer to say

In a speech to Labour conference later today, Sir Keir Starmer will tell party members Scotland “can lead the way” to Labour returning to government. 

The Labour leader will address the party for the first time since its landslide victory in the Rutherglen and Hamilton by-election last week, which saw Michael Shanks receive 58.5 per cent of the overall vote, more than double the votes cast for the SNP’s Katy Loudon. 

He described the win as “seismic” after polls suggested a swing of half the size. 

Starmer will say: “Scotland can lead the way to a Labour Government, but be under no illusions - we must earn every vote. 

“And we must understand that the Scottish people are not just looking at us, they’re also looking at Britain. 

“The challenge of change remains, but nonetheless, conference for the first time in a long time we can see a tide that is turning. 

“Four nations that are renewing.  

“Old wounds of division – exploited by the Tories and the SNP beginning to heal. 

“So let the message from Rutherglen and Hamilton West ring out across Britain. 

“Labour serves working people in Scotland because Labour serves working people across all these islands.” 

Starmer’s comments follow a Panelbase poll of more than 1,000 Scots that suggests Scottish Labour could be the largest party at the 2026 Holyrood election, as well new analysis by the Fabian Society of a YouGov survey which points to the party being on course to form a majority government at Westminster.  

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