THE next UK general election will not be about independence, Keir Starmer has said.

The Labour leader rejected Nicola Sturgeon’s calls for the next election to be a "de facto referendum" if the SNP’s UK Supreme Court bid fails.

A case in the Supreme Court is set to determine whether Holyrood has the power to hold a plebiscite on independence.

If it rules the Scottish Parliament doesn't have that power the First Minister has said the next general election should be a “de-facto” referendum on indy.

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Starmer rejected that and said Labour had seen “real progress” on turning SNP voters back to Labour.

Writing in the Daily Record, he said: “The polls show more and more Scots are taking another look at Labour, knowing that we can kick the Tories out of office.

"Because the next election is not going to be about independence.

“It’s going to be a choice between the disastrous record of the Tories over the last 12 years and change.

“In Aberdeen, Manchester, Liverpool, Dundee, London, Glasgow - in every town and city across these islands there is a majority for change.”

The National: Keir Starmer said previous Labour voters are returning to the partyKeir Starmer said previous Labour voters are returning to the party (Image: PA)

Starmer said there were “so many people” whose families previously voted Labour but switched to the SNP.

“They felt frustration with the Tories, but didn’t believe that Labour could beat them,” he added.

"When I became leader of the UK Labour Party, I knew that it would take a power of work to rebuild the trust we had lost.

"Under the leadership of Anas Sarwar and I, we are starting to see real progress.

"Because while the SNP use this woeful Tory government as cover for their own failures, we want to get rid of them now.

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"But it’s not enough for the Tories and the SNP to deserve to lose, Labour must deserve to win.

The SNP hit back at Labour, saying the party is the main challenger to Tory-held constituencies in Scotland.

SNP MP Kirsten Oswald said: “Keir Starmer is either insincere or ill-informed - in every Tory-held seat in Scotland, the SNP is the only real challenger.

“The only way to get rid of the Tories for good is by voting SNP and the only way to get rid of this rotten Westminster system - that the Labour party is intent on protecting at all costs - is for Scotland to become an independent country.”