MICHAEL Shanks has been branded “out of touch” for his stance on Brexit after stating that rejoining the EU is “not a question for now”.

The Labour candidate for the Westminster by-election in Rutherglen and Hamilton West made the comments in an interview with the Daily Record, where he said he was not “against” rejoining the EU.

Shanks insisted that he had not changed his “principles” over the bloc, but at the same time said it was not the right time for a debate on the issue.

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Previously, Shanks resigned from the Labour party over its stance on Brexit.

The SNP’s candidate for the hotly contested seat, councillor Katy Loudon, branded Shanks “all over the place” with his stance on Brexit, and said it was “insulting” to dismiss the impact of leaving the EU on families in the area.

It comes as SNP MP Alyn Smith challenged Keir Starmer and Anas Sarwar to admit they had “ditched their principles by backing Brexit”.

The National: Scottish Labour candidate Michael Shanks

In the interview with the Record, Shanks (pictured above) said: “I think it's not a question for just now, but I still see the UK as having a place in the European Union.

"So yes, if it got to a point where there was clearly a public appetite for the conversation again, I wouldn't be against us rejoining the European Union. Of course not.

“Because I have not changed my principles or the idea that the European project is good for all of us.”

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Loudon blasted the comments on social media, writing: “All over the place, and ridiculously out of touch.

“This constituency, and Scotland, overwhelmingly voted Remain, and the vast majority want to rejoin.

"While Starmer and Labour's position becomes more extreme, only @theSNP offers a way of escaping the disaster that is Brexit.”

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The South Lanarkshire councillor added that Brexit had an “extremely personal and upsetting” impact on her extended family, adding: “It is insulting in the extreme to say ‘this is not a question for just now’ when people here are living through the consequences.”

Shanks previously quit Labour in 2019 stating the party had a “bankrupt” approach to membership of the EU and the “impact it will have on the poorest people across the UK”.

Labour under Starmer have now embraced Brexit and ruled out any return to the EU, the single market or freedom of movement.

Smith, the SNP’s EU accession spokesperson, said: "Brexit has been a disaster for Scotland - costing us billions of pounds, increasing the cost of living and inflicting long-term damage to our economy and NHS.

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"The SNP is the only party offering Scotland an escape from Brexit with independence - and a route back to EU prosperity.

“In contrast, Sir Keir Starmer has sold Scotland out by backing Brexit and admitting there's no going back to the EU under the pro-Brexit Labour Party.”

Smith accused Shanks of “hypocrisy” over his previous comments regarding Brexit and said he was “simply wrong” stating that there was no appetite in Scotland to rejoin the EU.

"At the next election, voting SNP is the only way to secure independence, escape Brexit and build a wealthier, fairer future in the EU,” he added.