A FORMER Labour MP has accused Keir Starmer of “patronising” Scots with “Tory language” after the Labour leader suggested he would oppose a second independence referendum even if Supreme Court judges allow one in an interview.

Les Huckfield – who was a Labour MP for 16 years and MEP for five – said the interview Starmer delivered on the BBC’s Sunday Show was “remarkably ill-prepared” and seemed as if it was done “off the cuff”.

Huckfield also branded Scottish Labour’s position on independence “ridiculous”.

During the interview, Starmer said the Supreme Court – which is looking at whether the Scottish Government can legislate for a referendum without Westminster’s permission – will not decide the “political” question of whether there should be a vote, before going on to maintain his opposition to one.

He also claimed Scots are not “stuck” in the Union which he believes is a “voluntary organisation”.

Huckfield – who moved to Scotland two decades ago and supports independence - said not only did Starmer patronise Scots with his remarks but he appeared to fail to recognise the legal significance of the Supreme Court case.

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“I have been in Scotland for 20 years and I still cannot get used to, and I almost take offence to, the way a lot of English people patronise the Scots,” he said.

“What Starmer said [about a referendum] was Tory language. It’s not as bad as Liz Truss – I don’t think anything can be – but it was very patronising.

“It [the interview] was remarkably ill-prepared. I’m fascinated that anyone who purports to be the Leader of the Opposition and an advocate for the Union could turn up and make a speech like this. It was almost as though it was off the cuff.

The National: Les Huckfield was a Labour MP from 1967 to 1983Les Huckfield was a Labour MP from 1967 to 1983 (Image: NQ)

“You cannot just turn up and patronise Scots.

“For what it’s worth, I don’t think Nicola Sturgeon’s strategy with the Supreme Court is going to work, but nevertheless I think they [Labour] ought to recognise the importance of the Scottish Government trying to do that and if they’re going to try and maintain some kind of impartiality they ought to wait for the outcome of the Supreme Court decision.

“Trying to anticipate or prejudge the outcome seems to me as not recognising the significance of what Nicola Sturgeon is trying to do. Starmer, above all, ought to recognise the significance of it.”

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Huckfield – who quit as a Labour member in 2003 – has additionally criticised the direction of Scottish Labour, insisting he cannot understand the logic in their opposition to a referendum.

He added: “I still can’t understand why Scottish Labour takes what I can only regard as a ridiculous position on Scottish independence.

“It is not only being against Scottish independence, it’s being against a referendum and I really can’t understand the basis of that. I don’t understand the political motive or logic.

“On top of all of that, [Starmer is] not recognising the significance of what Nicola Sturgeon is trying to do with the Supreme Court. Bearing in mind this is a guy that used to be the director of public prosecutions, he at least ought to recognise the legal importance of it.”

Starmer has also been panned for saying there are too many overseas workers in the NHS.

Former Labour MSP Malcolm Chisholm called Starmer “idiotic” for his remark on social media, stating “while he may have been trying to say something about workforce planning it didn't come across that way”.

Huckfield agreed with Chisholm and added: “The NHS would collapse overnight if you didn’t have that vast input of these very qualified people who keep the NHS going.”