Trust in Labour Party in Scotland 'must be rebuilt'
Labour needs to regain trust in the party that has gone in Scotland, leader Sir Keir Starmer has said.
Sir Keir stated that Labour could not win power at the next election without a revival of its Scottish fortunes.
Speaking at the Co-operative Party's virtual conference, the Labour leader said: "We have to win in 2024. There's no way though without going through Scotland.
"Scotland really matters. And, of course, that is going to be tested very significantly in May of next year when we have the Scottish elections.
"I think that involves rebuilding trust which we have lost in parts of Scotland.
"I don't think the values of people in Scotland have changed, I think it's trust in the Labour Party that has gone. And we need to rebuild and rebuild quickly."
Sir Keir said that Scotland needed more power over its own affairs within the UK.
He said: "We do need to have an answer... on the constitutional question. And we need to be brave enough to confront the fact that people do want more power.
"I don't think that you give people more power and influence and share wealth by tearing up the United Kingdom.
"And, I think we need to make a very persuasive case for the United Kingdom, and the co-operation of all the parts of the United Kingdom, but we also have to acknowledge that more power needs to go to Scotland."
The Labour leader has previously warned that Scots are being left behind by Holyrood and Westminster administrations distracted by Brexit and independence. Writing in The Scotsman last month ahead of his first visit since becoming Labour leader, Sir Keir demanded both governments work together to tackle the virus and warned they must stop getting distracted by constant rowing over the constitution.
He said: “The number one priority for governments across the United Kingdom must be protecting people’s lives and livelihoods.
“Yet in the middle of a global pandemic, the Tories are still banging on about Brexit and the SNP, by their own admission, are still prioritising independence.
“Rather than acknowledging the deep problems with their response to the virus, like the current testing fiasco or the crisis in our care homes, they are dodging blame and attacking each other."
Sir Keir also told the Co-operative Party virtual conference: "Test, trace and isolate is critical.
"The Prime Minister said we would have a world-beating system - we didn't need that, we just need an effective one that works.
"'World beating' is just Johnson rhetoric.
"Getting a test quickly, getting the result quickly and then reaching the contacts so that self-isolation works - that's not working properly, which means that thousands and thousands of people are walking around today who should be in self-isolation.
"So, that bit needs to be fixed."
Sir Keir was elected to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader in April 2020. A former barrister, he was previously head of public prosecutions in England.
Labour held just one Scottish seat in the December 2019 general election.
In the 2010 election the party dominated the Westminster political landscape in Scotland with 41 MPs.