SIR Keir Starmer has again ruled out any coalition pact with Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP as he told activists the UK is "better together".

The Labour leader said he “made no apology” for repeating his “no deal with the SNP going into an election, no deal with the SNP coming out of an election” as he laid out the foundations for Labour’s pitch for what could be a 2023 General Election.

In a major speech to kickstart Labour’s political year, Starmer tore into Boris Johnson’s record in government and said Labour would stand for “security, prosperity and respect” to unite a “new Britain” coming out of the Covid pandemic.

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Turning to Scotland, he said: “I believe that these values - security, prosperity and respect - unite the whole of the United Kingdom.

"And a reckless government in Westminster that does not seem to care about what happens in Scotland erodes people’s faith in our common bonds.

“But I believe in our union of nations. I believe we are better together than any of us would be apart. I believe that each nation can speak with a progressive voice.
“But we need a new and durable constitutional settlement.

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"Which is why I am delighted that Gordon Brown ’s Commission on the Future of the UK will chart a new course for our union of nations.”

The former prime minister was commissioned last year to write a new constitutional settlement for the whole of the UK which would rewire the relationship between the Westminster government and devolved nations and move power out of Whitehall to the regions of England.

Starmer majored on his patriotism for the United Kingdom with a speech in front of a Union flag in Birmingham where the Commonwealth Games will be staged later this year.

He said: “The Labour Party is not a nationalist party. But it is a national party. Because a nation gives us a place to belong.”

Starmer said the country has presented him with “great opportunities” but that Labour wants to correct “flaws” in the country “because we are patriotic”.

“I’m afraid at the moment we are going backwards. We have a Prime Minister who thinks the rules apply to anyone but him," he added.

“Just when trust in government has become a matter of life and death, for this Prime Minister it has become a matter of what he can get away with.”

Although he acknowledged Labour still had to win trust from voters he said he was “confident but not complacent about the party’s prospects and cast himself as the inheritor of Labour’s winning Prime Ministers.

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Starmer said: “Nobody could look on our record and say that Labour is not a patriotic party.

"Those Labour governments had the ambition to build a society in which everyone can contribute and everyone is valued. To extend Security, Prosperity and Respect to all. This is the tradition we embrace and the mission we inherit.”

"When I reflect on previous Labour governments, I have two thoughts.
"The first is what a record we have.

"These three chapters of change - Attlee, Wilson and Blair - made Britain a better country. We must be the people who write the fourth chapter. The people who create a new Britain in the twenty-first century."