Brexit: Keir Starmer risks being pale imitation of a Tory - Sturgeon

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon makes a statement on th National Health Service (NHS), in Edinburgh, on January 9, 2023. (Photo by RUSSELL CHEYNE / POOL / AFP) (Photo by RUSSELL CHEYNE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has suggested Labour leader Keir Starmer is a "pale imitation" of the Conservatives. (Getty Images)

Nicola Sturgeon has accused Keir Starmer of being "unprincipled" and has warned Labour is risking becoming a "pale imitation" of the Tories over Brexit.

Prior to the 2019 general election, Starmer was a strong supporter of a close relationship with the EU and pushed for a second referendum membership.

However, since Labour's heavy defeat in 2019 and his election as party leader, his stance has altered and he recently acknowledged many Remain voters appreciated there had been a "powerful emotional case for change".

Read more: ‘You can’t justify going faster’: Plan to increase state pension criticised by ex-minister

Appearing on The New Agent's podcast, the Scottish SNP first minister suggested the Labour leader lacked principles because of the changes in his position on the UK's relationship with the EU.

"I don't know how you can go from being the Keir Starmer that I and SNP worked with over Brexit to be somebody who now won't even countenance the possibility of going back into the single market and say you've got principles," said Sturgeon.

Britain's Labour leader Keir Starmer walks to a meeting during the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2023, in the Alpine resort of Davos, Switzerland, January 19, 2023. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
Labour leader Keir Starmer has changed his stance on Brexit since the 2019 general election. (Reuters)

"The other side of Brexit is delivering the change needed in this country.”

Sturgeon said Labour should not get comfortable despite their immense lead in the polls, warning their current political position risks making them a "pale imitation" of the Conservative Party.

"If I was in Labour, I'd really worry about being the pale imitation. Because why would people vote for the pale imitation?"

Read more: Moment minister lost for words when confronted by story of huge food bank queue

She added: "Across much of the UK, people are crying out for a genuine alternative to the Tories and - instead - they're getting this triangulating sort of fudge the difference, just be a sort of slightly more palatable version of the Tories from Keir Starmer.

"I don't know if that's what people want."

Her intervention comes as Labour continues to enjoy heavy leads ahead of the Conservatives in public opinion, with a poll for GB News this month revealing 50% of people plan to vote Labour with 21% planning to vote Conservative.

Watch: Rishi Sunak looks to ‘strengthen’ relationship with Nicola Sturgeon