Sir Keir Starmer promises reset in Scotland relations during Edinburgh visit

Starmer visited Edinburgh as his first trip around the devolved nations.
-Credit: (Image: 2024 Getty Images)


New Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer said he had "constructive" talks on Scotland's economy and the future of Grangemouth refinery with First Minister John Swinney on his first official visit to Edinburgh.

Sir Keir started his first tour of the four UK nations with a strip to Edinburgh and a meeting with Mr Swinney at Bute House. Speaking afterwards, he said he was determined to "make good" on his campaign commitment to "reset" the relationship between the Scottish and UK Governments.

He told the media the economy and energy were high on the agenda but accepted there were "clearly differences of opinion" on the issue of Scottish independence.

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The new PM said: "The point of this meeting was to reset the relationship in a respectful way, in a constructive way, and to recognise that on the economy, energy and very pressingly on Grangemouth, there is room for us to have a constructive way of delivering for very many people across Scotland."

He said he and Mr Swinney had a "joint view" of working constructively, adding: "I am absolutely clear that during the campaign I made a commitment that my Labour Government would deliver for Scotland.

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"That's why I'm back here making good on that commitment, that promise, and starting the work of change across Scotland with the First Minister and deputy First Minister (Kate Forbes)."

Ms Forbes and Scottish Secretary Ian Murray also joined the discussions on the economy and net zero.

Mr Swinney said: "I was pleased to welcome Sir Keir to Bute House so soon after his appointment as UK Prime Minister.

"We continued our conversation about areas of shared interest. I believe there is an opportunity for collaborative working that can make a difference to people's lives and I hope to work with Sir Keir's new government to deliver progress for the benefit of people in Scotland.

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"Following our talks, I am confident we have established the foundation for a productive relationship between our two governments based on renewed respect for the devolution settlement.

"On a personal note, having been First Minister for two months and a minister for many years, I am very aware of the demands of office. I again offered Sir Keir and his family my congratulations on his appointment and my best wishes for what will be a demanding start to his term in office."