LABOUR leadership contender Jess Phillips has called on her party to start addressing "things that actually people talk about on the doorstep" rather than constitutional matters like devolution or federalism. 

Speaking to STV's John Mackay on a visit to Glasgow yesterday, the Birmingham Yardley MP was asked about how she would regain former Labour seats across Scotland

After the 2014 indyref, Labour lost 40 of its 41 seats in Scotland to the SNP. At the 2017 election it regained six constituencies - but promptly lost those, again to the SNP, in last month's vote.

Phillips - whose Scotland adviser is former Better Together campaign director Blair McDougall - said Labour must recognise "its decline across the United Kingdom, but none more so does that feel so acute as here in Scotland", adding she takes the party's loss in the country "very very seriously".

READ MORE: Jess Phillips: 'I don't think we should have another indyref'

But when asked if Labour have struggled in Scotland over the last five years because of their constitutional stance, Phillips instead claimed the party need a "clear position" and to talk about the things that matter to people.

She said certain constitutional issues do not come under that banner, adding if she knocked on a door in Glasgow "people would not be asking me about devo-max, or they would not be talking to me, certainly not talking about different models of federalism".

The self-proclaimed "passionate Unionist" told Mackay: "I’m not suggesting we don’t engage in the independence debate, I’m suggesting that we have a clear position throughout and that has to be clear about bargaining with the SNP as well."

The interviewer then asked Phillips - who is the first of the five Labour leadership candidates to visit Scotland on their campaign - if she accepted there is some need for constitutional change.

READ MORE: Labour candidate in ‘embarrassing’ attempt to attack Nicola Sturgeon

She replied: "Only 45% of people in this country voted for the SNP. We have to be really really careful that we don’t allow a first past the post system to speak for the entire nation. And we have to be really careful to listen to what the polling is telling us and to listen to actually what the result is telling us – and not just let politicians, and all politicians of all stripes do this, they take an election result and they say it means what they wanted it to mean."

She went on: "Look I think at first, the very first thing I would do and I think that I have been doing that during this contest is to be clear that I am a passionate Unionist.

"I think solidarity across our country is vitally important and we care as much about children here in Glasgow as we do about the progress of children, my own children even, in Birmingham.

"And I think once we have got a clear position you can start to talk to people and gain trust with people about the things that actually people talk about on the doorstep.

READ MORE: FM: Jess Phillips has Scots Labour voters 'running for the hills'

"If I were to knock a door in Glasgow, today, people would not be asking me about devo-max, or they would not be talking to me, certainly not talking about different models of federalism. They’d be talking about their kids. They’d be talking about their street. They’d be talking about how safe they are.

"I think there needs to be a real look at the way that power is shared across our nations and regions but I think we have got to be really careful in politics to start talking about the things and to the things people care about."

READ MORE: Jess Phillips hires Better Together boss as Scotland adviser

During the interview, Phillips also told Mackay that if she were prime minister she too would have rejected Nicola Sturgeon's Section 30 request.

Yesterday, Sturgeon accused the candidate of "singing from exactly the same hymn sheet" as Boris Johnson.