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Sir Keir Starmer plans ‘frank conversation’ with Scots in online meetings

The UK Labour leader said his party’s return to power at Westminster starts in Scotland.

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UK Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer wants to have a ‘frank conversation’ with Scots on renewing trust in the party (JaneBarlow/PA)

UK Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer wants to have a ‘frank conversation’ with Scots on renewing trust in the party (JaneBarlow/PA)

UK Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer wants to have a ‘frank conversation’ with Scots on renewing trust in the party (JaneBarlow/PA)

Labour’s road back to power at Westminster starts in Scotland, Sir Keir Starmer has said.

The new UK Labour leader is to hold virtual town hall meetings with voters in Glasgow and Fife – two areas which were once part of his party’s heartlands.

He said he wants to have a “frank conversation” about how the party can win back the trust of voters north of the border.

In last year’s general election, Labour only returned one MP from Scotland, with the party losing six of the seven seats it had previously held.

It was the second time in less than five years that Labour has been left with a sole Scottish MP – the current shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray.

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Following December’s general election, Ian Murray is again Labour’s only Scottish MP (PA)

Following December’s general election, Ian Murray is again Labour’s only Scottish MP (PA)

PA

Following December’s general election, Ian Murray is again Labour’s only Scottish MP (PA)

Thursday’s talks are part of a series of events taking place across the UK as the Labour leader – who replaced Jeremy Corbyn last month – seeks to learn from the party’s latest electoral defeat.

The Covid-19 pandemic means the discussions must be held virtually, and Sir Keir said: “Coronavirus is a national crisis and has changed our way of life.”

He said he wants to “hear first-hand from people in Scotland about their experiences and what more they want to see done to help keep people safe” during the outbreak.

He added: “I also want to have a frank conversation with the Scottish people about what is happening in their communities and how we can restore people’s trust in Labour as a force for good and a force for change.”

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: “I know he recognises the importance of winning back the people of Scotland’s trust and support.

“With the Scottish Parliament elections taking place in exactly a year’s time, I’m looking forward to welcoming Keir and (Labour deputy leader) Angela Rayner to the campaign trail in Scotland as soon as the lockdown is lifted.”

PA