Lisa Nandy has promised to “never interfere” in devolved policymaking if she becomes Labour leader and believes the party’s stance on independence should be shaped by Scottish Labour.
During a visit to a McVitie’s biscuit factory in Glasgow, the leadership hopeful said she was opposed to independence, but that Labour’s decision whether to support another referendum “should be driven by Scottish Labour”.
Arguing that the UK party needs to put more trust in Scottish Labour, she said: “If I’m honest, in recent years, we just haven’t shown the level of respect to Scottish Labour at a UK level that we ought to.
“We’ve imposed decisions, whether it’s around policies, whether it’s around resources, whether it’s around candidates, too many of those decisions are made in Westminster.
“There’s a very, very strong feeling here that UK Labour needs to be much more respectful.
“Scottish Labour makes policy on devolved issues, I will never interfere with that as the leader of the Labour Party because if we don’t show, at a UK-level, that we trust Scottish Labour, why would we expect the Scottish people to do the same?”
A lot of people in the factory weren’t shy about telling me the depths and strengths of feeling that Labour has been moving away from them for some timeLisa Nandy MP
Ms Nandy said that federalism – advocated by rival Keir Starmer – “isn’t the solution”, but wanted to see a “much deeper settlement that cascades power out in this country”.
“If you go to Aberdeenshire – where I spent quite a lot of time as the shadow energy secretary – often people feel as shut out from Holyrood as they do from Westminster,” she said.
“If Labour wants to see a much more empowered country in every nation and region in the UK, then we have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.”
The Wigan MP said she visited the factory to listen to former Labour voters who had stopped supporting the party and, speaking to the PA news agency after her tour, said that workers told her: “Labour is not a party that is for working-class people any more”.
“A lot of people in the factory weren’t shy about telling me the depths and strengths of feeling that Labour has been moving away from them for some time,” she said.
“They want to hear from us what we are actually going to do to work with the people of Scotland in order to provide a better alternative to the nightmare that we are seeing unfold under Boris Johnson.
“They don’t want to see us talking about other political parties, they want to see us talking about our vision – a positive vision for the future of the UK – and we’ve got to win the argument on independence.”