KEIR Starmer’s Labour Party “had to give up” hopes of winning seats in Scotland to pursue pro-Brexit votes in the north of England – even if they’ll never admit it, the UK’s leading pollster has said.

Speaking to The National, Professor John Curtice further questioned whether the strategy of pandering to Leave voters in England was even necessary given Labour’s massive lead in UK-wide polls.

Asked why the Labour Party seemed unwilling to address the negative economic consequences of Brexit, Curtice said: “The Labour Party decided some time ago that it wasn’t in their interest to pursue the issue.

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“Starmer is calculating, or at least he has calculated, that he needs to accept Brexit in order to try to win back the Red Wall vote, although actually you do need to bear in mind that the majority of Labour voters in Red Wall seats are Remainers. Even so, it’s a substantial minority who are Leavers, and Labour did lose Leavers in 2019, all of that is true.

“So Labour thinks they need to get these people back and therefore they would keep schtum [about Brexit]. Of course, that always meant they made a choice.

“They made a choice about which Red Wall to try to regain: Was it the North of England Red Wall or the Scotland Red Wall? In going for the North of England Red Wall they basically had to give up on the Scotland Red Wall, although of course they will never admit it.”

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Curtice noted that Labour under Starmer (above) had seen “relative success” in attracting Leave voters in England, but noted that Remain voters were still the majority of their supporters.

In contrast, he said that the SNP were “picking up the largest chunk of the Remain vote” in Scotland.

“That’s the trade-off the Labour Party have made,” Curtice added. “They won’t acknowledge they’ve made it but that is the trade-off they’ve effectively made.”

The Strathclyde professor, who is also president of the British Polling Council, went on: “The interesting question to pose is, now that Labour is so ahead in the polls, do they actually need particularly to be crafting a policy that’s directed at Leave voters in Red Wall seats, given that all the Red Wall seats are going to end up in Labour’s camp anyway, if the current polls are right.”

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Labour saw peaks of above 50% in General Election polling conducted towards the end of Liz Truss’s short but disastrous time as prime minister, with the Tories languishing on as low as 22%, according to Politico’s tracker.

After Rishi Sunak took over pledging to fix Truss’s “mistakes”, the gap has diminished slightly, but the Tories are still facing a sweeping defeat at the next Westminster election.

Starmer’s Labour has taken a hard line on Brexit, accepting Boris Johnson’s terms such as no freedom of movement and no membership of the single market. In the summer, the Labour leader ruled out both of these “forever”.