Keir Starmer rules out SNP independence deal with Nicola Sturgeon

SIR Keir Starmer would happily team up with Nicola Sturgeon to help tackle the climate crisis but has ruled out any SNP deal over independence.

The Labour leader has stressed he would happily work with the First Minister ahead of the COP26 global climate conference in Glasgow, insisting that leadership ahead of the event “requires that kind of diplomacy”.

But Sir Keir has argued that the Scottish Government’s focus should remain recovery from the pandemic and tackling the climate emergency rather than the constitution.

Speaking to the Daily Record as he visits Scotland this week, Sir Keir criticised the Prime Minister’s COP26 strategy, claiming there is a “staggering” gulf between Mr Johnson’s words and the actions needed for the UK Government tackle the crisis.

Mr Johnson will play a crucial leadership role with the UK Government hosting the global climate event in November.

Sir Keir also pointed to failures of the Scottish Government to cash in on a transition to green industries, highlighting how wind turbines installed offshore are being made abroad.

He said: “It is beyond belief those wind turbines are coming from places such as Indonesia instead of being built in Scotland.”

READ MORE: COP26 Countdown: SNP urged to ensure Scotland isn’t ‘left behind’ by renewable energy revolution

Asked about whether there could be any arrangement with the SNP before or after the next general election, Sir Keir said: “Look, I will meet Nicola Sturgeon if she wants to talk through the challenges of the day.

“But on the constitution, going into the Scottish election and since the election, we’ve been clear the focus is on the recovery and on the climate challenge.

“We haven’t finished dealing with this pandemic. Many times in the last 12 months we’ve thought we’re coming out of it, only to find that there are rises in infections.

READ MORE: David Bol: Politicians need to be upfront about climate action

“We’ve got to finish rolling out the vaccinations and then look to the recovery side. So any conversation has to start there, not on the constitutional issue.”

The Labour leader added: “The questions going into that (general) election are going to be generational – how do we ensure, as we come out of the pandemic, we deal with the fundamental weaknesses that left us with the highest death toll and the biggest impact of any major economy? And secondly, how do we meet the climate emergency?

READ MORE: Boris Johnson turns down Nicola Sturgeon’s invite to Bute House

“They can only be answered by a strong Labour government.

“The central issue will be if you want a Labour government, you have to vote Labour. You can’t vote for another party and get a Labour government.

“That will be our strategic approach and there’ll be no coalition going into those elections and no coalition coming out of it.”

The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992