MHAIRI Black has said that Keir Starmer should be “embarrassed” to campaign in Scotland because of his party’s support of Conservative austerity policies.

The MP, who intends to stand down at the next Westminster election, said that Labour’s continued support for Brexit and Tory policies such as the two-child benefit cap show that the party does not have Scotland’s best interests at heart.

Figures commissioned by the SNP show that South Lanarkshire has lost £156 million as a result of Brexit: £146 in EU imports and exports and £10 million in direct funding.

READ MORE: Jackie Baillie panned after demanding SNP make by-election pledge

"Sir Keir Starmer ought to be embarrassed campaigning for a so-called fresh start in Scotland,” said Black.

"The Labour leader has publicly signed up to a Tory manifesto for the status quo - more Westminster austerity, more economic carnage and more misery for Scottish households.

"During his trip to Scotland, Sir Keir must answer what a fresh start means for Scotland and for Rutherglen and Hamilton West - which has been hammered by Brexit to the tune of £156 million and where almost 1500 households are affected by the two child cap.

"We can no doubt expect more hollow words and empty promises from the pro-Brexit and pro-austerity Labour leader.”

The National: Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (left) and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar during a visit to the Lind and Lime distillery in Leith, EdinburghLabour leader Sir Keir Starmer (left) and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar during a visit to the Lind and Lime distillery in Leith, Edinburgh (Image: Lesley Martin)

Starmer denied friction between Labour HQ and Scottish Labour while campaigning in Edinburgh on Monday alongside Anas Sarwar.

This is despite Sarwar stating that he would urge Starmer to drop his party’s support of the two-child benefit cap, which many Labour MSPs have openly criticised.

The party’s candidate in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election, Michael Shanks, has also called for the two child benefit cap to be axed and admitted that he still saw the UK as “having a place in the European Union” despite his party’s opposition to rejoining.

Black added: "Even his own candidate can't back his plans to stick with Westminster's cruel two child cap and pro-Brexit agenda. So why should the people of Rutherglen, or Scotland?

"Let's not forget, if it wasn't for the SNP Government, which is mitigating the worst of Westminster policies, students would be paying tuition fees and families would be feeling the impact of the brutal bedroom tax. Starmer's Labour party backs both of these policies.

"The only thing on offer from either of the Westminster parties is more of the same. Only a vote for the SNP will help deliver real change - so vote SNP in the upcoming by-election and reject this pro-Brexit, pro-austerity Labour party."

It comes after Jackie Baillie faced ridicule for demanding the SNP commit to holding the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election as soon as possible – even though the party did so two weeks ago.