Sir Keir Starmer to warn of ‘peril’ to the Union in conference address

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The future of the United Kingdom is being placed in “peril”, Sir Keir Starmer will declare as he insists that Labour is the “party of the Union”.

The Labour leader will use his speech to the party’s Brighton conference to argue that keeping the union of four nations together is not just beneficial in economic terms, but makes for a “more progressive” nation.

And while he will insist that be believes in the “union of the nations on these islands”, he will warn that there is a “cavalier government that is placing it in peril”.

The Labour leader will go on to attack Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP government at Holyrood, criticising it on issues such as the education attainment gap and the record number of drugs deaths recorded in Scotland last year.

The Labour leader will attack the record of Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish Government on issues such as drug deaths and educational attainment (Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail/PA)
The Labour leader will attack the record of Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish Government on issues such as drug deaths and educational attainment (Fraser Bremner/Scottish Daily Mail/PA)

Sir Keir will tell the conference that “Scotland is in the unfortunate position of having two bad governments”, with the Tories in power in Westminster and the SNP at Holyrood.

He will say: “When Nicola Sturgeon took office she said she wanted to be judged on her record.

“These days, with the poorest in society less well educated and less healthy and the tragedy of so many drug-related deaths, we hear rather less about the SNP’s record.”

Both the Tories and the SNP seek to “exploit” the divisions over Scotland’s constitutional future “for their own ends”, he will add.

In contrast Sir Keir will insist that “Labour is the party that wants to bring our nations together”.

He will tell supporters: “Under the fantastic leadership of Anas Sarwar, Labour is the party of the Union. Because it’s not just that divorce would be a costly disruption, though that is true.

“And it’s not just that our union is in all our economic interests, though that is also true. It’s that we are more progressive together. We are more secure together.”

Scottish Labour Leader Anas Sarwar speaks at the Labour Party conference in Brighton
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar speaks at the Labour Party conference in Brighton (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The address comes after Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said the party had to “defeat the politics of division with the politics of unity”.

Mr Sarwar said: “While the SNP revel in an us v them politics in Scotland, across the UK we also have an us v them Tory Government.

“We cannot defeat the us versus them politics with our own version of us versus them.

“Instead we’ve got to build a campaign that is about all of us.”

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