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by Kirsteen Paterson
15 October 2023
Stephen Flynn calls on SNP to regroup and be 'honest' after 'humbling' Rutherglen defeat

Stephen Flynn MP addresses the SNP conference 2023

Stephen Flynn calls on SNP to regroup and be 'honest' after 'humbling' Rutherglen defeat

Defeat in Rutherglen was "humbling" and the SNP must regroup and renew to ensure "the Tories get stuffed again in Scotland" at the next general election, Stephen Flynn has said.

In his speech to his party's conference in Aberdeen, the SNP Westminster leader opened by sending "our thoughts and prayers to the people of Ukraine and the Middle East", praising Humza Yousaf's handling of the crisis and calling for moves to "protect the shared innocence and shared humanity of all Israeli and Palestinian civilians".

Vowing that "unlike the Tory conference, there will be no tin foil hats permitted in the venue", Flynn focused on the cost-of-living crisis and said SNP delegates deserve "honesty" about the party's challenges.

He said: "The truth is that this hasn't been an easy few weeks for our party, let alone an easy few months.

"Despite a brilliant candidate who worked day and night, and a brilliant team of party activists, we lost Rutherglen and Hamilton West and we lost it comfortably.

"Yes, it was a by-election, yes, it was a low turnout and yes, there were very specific circumstances under which that election was called. But there is no point in denying it. That defeat was humbling."

Saying "the only response to a humbling defeat is to be honest with ourselves and to be honest with the public," Flynn said many people can't afford "the basics of everyday life" and "people are at breaking point because they live here, in broken Britain".

He added: "Skint, scunnered and Scottish? Blame the Tories," saying the cost-of-living crisis is "made in Westminster".

Stating that his party must regroup and renew, the MP said: "Let's make sure we keep remembering what they have done, the price people have paid because of it, and let's make sure that the Tories get stuffed at the next general election here in Scotland once again."

On the next general election, he said "all talk is about" whether this "will be a repeat of 1992 or 1997". Flynn said: "Our country has moved on from that depressing Westminster seesaw. In 2023, Scotland is a place apart and a politics apart. Our choices can be different and so too can our future.

"Let's get rid of the Tories now, let's never go back to Blair, and while we're at it let's end Westminster control for good."

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