SCOTTISH Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has been criticised by the SNP for delivering an “old, tired and out of touch” speech about 2017 being the year to save the union after Brexit.
She claimed it was the “year to save our union following the reckless actions of the SNP and the Tories” as politicians prepare to return to the Scottish Parliament following the break, and accused Nicola Sturgeon and Ruth Davidson of “stretching the union to breaking point”.
Dugdale said: “In 2014, we saved our Union and I was proud to be part of a campaign that stood up for Labour values of solidarity and co-operation. But 2016 saw the UK put at risk once again. The reckless actions of Ruth Davidson’s Westminster colleagues led to a Brexit vote that created the divisions in our society that Nicola Sturgeon thrives upon. With the Tories pursuing a hard Brexit, and the SNP pursuing independence, these two parties of government are stretching the Union to breaking point.
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“But 2017 is the year we can put the building blocks in place to save our Union. We can start preparing for a People’s Constitutional Convention for the entire UK, and I have proposed a federal solution, where every nation and the regions of England could take more responsibility for what happens in their communities – while firmly safeguarding the redistribution of wealth across the UK. After more than 300 years, it is time for a new Act of Union to safeguard our family of nations for generations to come.”
She will deliver a key speech on Scotland’s post-Brexit future to the David Hume Institute later this month but MP Tommy Sheppard, SNP spokesperson on the Cabinet Office in the House of Commons, said Dugdale preferred to “peddle a single constitutional solution” instead of doing what is best for Scotland.
He said: “It might be a new year but Scottish Labour has nothing new to offer to the people of Scotland. The messages in this speech are old, tired and out of touch.
"Kezia Dugdale and her party should be helping the SNP to fight today’s battles. She could join us in supporting the Scottish Government’s plan for Scotland in standing against the biggest threat to Scotland’s prosperity and the biggest concern for families, business and educational institutions right now – a hard Brexit which risks our membership of the Single Market. Instead she prefers to peddle a single constitutional solution which suits her party rather than her country, while excluding the one option which might simply be the best one for Scotland – independence."
Scottish Tory MSP Murdo Fraser said: “The voters made it clear in the Holyrood elections that they don’t trust Labour on the constitution. As such, they won’t be fooled by this latest stunt.”