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Outcry over mayor's speech

Sturgeon: Khan’s separation comments ‘ill-judged’

Sadiq KhanLondon mayor Sadiq Khan has sparked a furious outcry in Scotland over comments on independence in his address to the Scottish Labour conference in Perth.

He says there is “no difference between those who try to divide us on the basis of whether we are English or Scottish and those who try to divide us on the basis of our background, race or religion.”

He urged Scots to fight against “right-wing populist and nationalist parties”.

His comments were described by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as “spectacularly ill-judged”.

Mr Khan added: “The world is becoming an increasingly turbulent and divided place. We’ve seen Brexit, President Trump elected in the United States and the rise of right-wing populist and nationalist parties around the world.

“It is up to us – whether in Scotland or in London – to fight this trend. The last thing we need to do now is pit different parts of our country or sections of our society against each other – or to further fuel division or seek separation.

“There is no difference between those who try to divide us on the basis of whether we are English or Scottish and those who try to divide us on the basis of our background, race or religion.

“The antidote to Brexit and the rise of right-wing populist parties is not to run away, break away or push our neighbours away. It is to lead in a different direction – the right direction. Now is the time to build unity, create a more United Kingdom and ensure everyone has the opportunities to succeed.”

He qualified his comments by saying: “Now of course I’m not saying that nationalists are somehow racist or bigoted – but now, more than ever – what we don’t need is more division and separation.”

Khan's comments

Ms Sturgeon immediately responded on Twitter, saying: “I’m a big admirer of Sadiq Khan but today’s intervention is spectacularly ill-judged.

“It is an insult to all those Scots who support independence for reasons of inclusion & social justice – the antithesis of what he says.

“..and it is a sign of the sheer desperation and moral bankruptcy that has driven so many from Scottish Labour’s ranks. Very disappointing.

Sturgeon tweets

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale will address delegates with the devastating result in the Copeland by-election weighing on morale.

The party lost a seat it had held for more than 80 years, heaping more pressure on leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Former foreign secretary David Miliband said today the Labour Party is at its weakest point in half a century.

Speaking after the Conservatives’ win in Copeland – the first such gain by a sitting government in 35 years, he said: “I don’t think this is just a repeat of the 1980s.

“We have to really understand the historic nature of the challenge that we have to face.”

Mr Miliband now works as the head of the International Rescue Committee in New York, helping with aid for humanitarian crises around the world.

When asked if he would come back to British politics, he said: “I honestly don’t know what I am going to do. It’s hard to see – but what’s the point of saying never?”

Mr Corbyn has said he will stay on as Labour leader, after his party won a by-election in Stoke Central.

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