Seat selection

Sarwar defends choice of England-based candidates

Anas Sarwar at Glasgow conference
Anas Sarwar: welcoming those who ‘love’ Scotland (pic: Terry Murden)

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar has defended his party’s decision to select candidates from south of the border to contest a number of seats in Scotland at the general election.

He told reporters he would welcome candidates from England who had a “connection” or “love” for Scotland.

A councillor from Kent, Elizabeth Carr-Ellis, will represent the party in Angus and Perthshire Glens, with Eva Kestner, a London councillor, selected to contest the Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross constituency.

Melanie Ward, the chief executive of the charity Medical Aid for Palestinians, will fight the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath seat despite living in London.

Speaking after delivering a speech at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow, Mr Sarwar told journalists: “There are people who have connections and ties to Scotland, who want to come and serve the Scottish people.

“I am not going to turn my back on someone that has a love for Scotland, history with Scotland or a connection with Scotland that wants to deliver for the people of Scotland.”

In a speech marking the 25th anniversary of the Scottish parliament’s first session, Mr Sarwar accused the SNP of “squandering” the devolution opportunity said he would aim to reset the deal. He recalled the promises made by the late Labour leader John Smith and Scotland’s first First Minister Donald Dewar.

“We will go back to the vision that John Smith, Donald Dewar and others in our Labour movement had for co-operation between our governments, making devolution fit for the future.

“We will repair relationships between the Scottish and UK governments by engaging constructively and co-operatively, despite our political differences. That is what the people of Scotland deserve.

“And we will demonstrate to the public how much more we could do with Labour in government in both Westminster and the Scottish Parliament.”

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