As jobs promised...
Sir Keir unable to mask slide in poll ratings
Sir Keir Starmer wearing a mask gifted by Duke of Edinburgh Awards participants in Edinburgh ( pic: Terry Murden)
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer was in Edinburgh on Friday to back the Scottish party’s pledge to create 170,000 jobs and a recovery for the aviation industry.
But it came on a day that a poll showed the party’s rating across the UK plummeting while more questions were raised over its policy on independence.
Arriving at Edinburgh Airport, Sir Keir announced: “There needs to be a plan for the recovery. That’s why here in Scotland the central focus has to be on the recovery and that’s why Scottish Labour are today launching this 170,000 jobs package for the future.”
The plan includes 60,000 “jobs for recovery” where every young person is guaranteed a job for at least six months.
But he was also greeted by a YouGov poll indicating that the Tories have extended their UK lead over Labour to 14 points – the biggest gulf since last spring – placing the party less favourable than it was under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
The poll could not have been more badly timed for Sir Keir as he joined Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar’s election campaign in the capital.
The poll shows UK-wide support for Labour has slipped to just 29%, with the Tories now polling at 43%.
The Liberal Democrats and the Greens have each seen their support rise by 2%.
The poll found that 34% of Britons believe Boris Johnson is best suited as Prime Minister compared to 26% who believe Sir Keir would make a better leader of the UK Government. More than one third are undecided.
Scottish Tories leapt on more unclear signals from Labour over its view on Scottish independence.
Conservative candidate for Glasgow, Annie Wells, said: “In the last 48 hours, both the UK and Scottish Labour leaders have refused to clearly say no, there shouldn’t be another referendum.
“Keir Starmer has again refused to rule out stopping another divisive independence referendum.
“When Nicola Sturgeon demands indyref2, and she absolutely will if she wins a majority, it looks like Labour will back down.”
Polling has found that 31% of Labour members believe Scotland should become independent with a further 28% believing Holyrood should be given more powers.
It also found 60% of members backing a Scottish independence referendum in the next few years,
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon was also facing criticism over the party’s floundering economic policies.
She admitted that the forecasts produced pre-pandemic in the Growth Commission report were out of date.
While that may come as no surprise, given the change of circumstances over the past year, it has left the party’s economic modelling, particularly for independence, in disarray.