Shadow Scotland Secretary outlines SNP’s ‘worst nightmare’

Shadow Scotland Secretary Ian Murray has answered questions put to him by Express readers.

In his answers, the Labour MP warns of the damage caused to Scotland by the SNP and the “divisive nature of nationalist politics”.

He also opens up on his pride at being Scotland’s only Labour MP, but admits it can be “very hard” being the “lightning rod for the nationalist movement”.

On Brexit, Mr Murray insists the debate over EU membership has “moved on”.

He vows that Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar will continue to oppose a second Scottish independence referendum until they are “blue in the face”.

And Mr Murray claims that Sir Keir taking the keys to 10 Downing Street would be the SNP’s “worst nightmare”.

See the Edinburgh South MP’s full answers below:

If the SNP goes bankrupt, can we have an election?

Actually, we should have an election given they’ve changed First Minister. When the PM changed 3 times in a year at Westminster they were screaming blue murder for an election but have since changed their view given what has happened to the SNP.

I remember the regional list ballot paper at the 2021 Scottish election saying “Nicola Sturgeon for First Minister”. That is what people voted for so voters deserve to have their say again.

Can Scotland ever return from the damage Nicola Sturgeon did?

I think it can but it is a long way back. There are a number of strands to this. I think Scottish society is completely split given the divisive nature of nationalist politics. Families and friends torn apart. That will take a long time to repair.

I also think our politics are paralysed and broken by the nature of political debate. If you challenge or hold the SNP to account you are “talking Scotland down”, if you disagree with them you are “anti-Scottish”. That has stifled debate, curtailed scrutiny and damaged democracy.

And finally, in economic and public service terms – everything is worse today than it was when they came to power 16 years ago.

What is it like to be the only Labour MP in Scotland?

It’s very very hard work and gives rise to a lot of unpleasant situations as I’m the lightning rod for the nationalist movement.

However, it’s great to get things done and I’m very proud to represent my own constituency and Scotland on the UK and world stage. I love Scotland and want it to do well.

It is the case that I’m not really on my own though. I have brilliant MP colleagues at Westminster who are hugely helpful and supportive and my MSP colleagues are too.

Anas Sawar and Keir Starmer couldn’t be any more supportive and we all work hand in glove as a team. As Keir often puts it “we are all Team Scotland”.

Would you ever go back into the EU?

I think the debate has moved on. I have always been firmly of the view that it was in the UK’s national interest to be in the EU but that argument was lost.

What is clear is that the Conservative Government has botched Brexit because they have pursued a relationship that has suited them as a party rather than suited the national interest.

I think we need to see the current relationship with the EU as the floor and not the ceiling and strive to sort the current deal, rebuild our tattered relationships with our EU colleagues, and deepen the relationship so that the UK benefits in terms of trade and the public.

I’m voting Labour next time round, but only if there’s a firm commitment to veto a further independence vote?

This has always been our policy and it has never changed since first asked in 2014. Our opponents have tried to exploit a different position but we can’t be clearer than continually saying no. It has been in every manifesto since 2014 and is our stated policy.

Keir, Anas and I keep saying it and we will continue to say it until we are blue in the face – no to independence and no referendum.

The irony being that I firmly believe the biggest threat to the UK is not the SNP at the moment but the Tories themselves. A UK Labour government is the SNP’s worst nightmare which is why they are using their PMQs every week to attack Labour.

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