KEIR Starmer has been asked if his promises extend to Scotland after he pledged “a full-fat approach to devolution”.

Launching Labour’s local election campaign – ahead of votes south of the Border on May 2 – Starmer and his depute Angela Rayner pledged a sweeping devolution of powers from Westminster to local communities.

Starmer said: “The argument is simple. Democratic decisions are better made by local people with skin in the game. And devolution is absolutely essential for taking on regional inequality and unlocking that pride.”

The Labour leader promised a “new Take Back Control Act” which he said would set a “presumption towards devolution, and new powers for mayors over transport, skills, energy, and planning, so they can rejuvenate our high streets and generate growth for every town and city – a full-fat approach to devolution”.

Areas such as transport and energy are only partially devolved to the Scottish parliament, and Rayner has previously ruled out the devolution of employment laws – a move which was recommended by a think-tank earlier this month.

But in the wake of Starmer’s comments, the Labour leader has been challenged on devolving more powers to Scotland. However, Green MSP Maggie Chapman said she was not holding her breath.

Chapman (below) said: “I hope this so-called full-fat approach to devolution will be extended to Scotland.

“Time and again Scottish Labour has made big promises but has utterly failed to deliver on them. They told us about key pledges and vows in 2014, and we all know how worthless it was then.

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“I sat on the Smith Commission, which saw Scottish Labour opposing key economic powers, choosing to keep them with a cruel and incompetent Tory government.

“We have used the limited powers we have to make important strides, but it is made much harder when the last 14 years has seen us stuck with governments that we did not vote for and cannot remove.

“I hope that Sir Keir Starmer will take a different approach, and that he will recognise the right of people in Scotland to choose our own future. Yet, with decades of empty words and broken promises, I certainly won’t be holding my breath."

Elsewhere at the campaign launch, Starmer hit out at the Conservatives – with a clear eye on an upcoming General Election.

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The Labour leader said: “Britain has an economy that hoards potential and a politics that hoards power. And it’s no coincidence or accident that this leaves us with more regional inequality than anywhere else in Europe.

“So if we want to change our economy, we must also change our politics and put an end to politics that is done to communities, not with them.”

He accused Boris Johnson’s Tories of having “preyed” on people’s hopes, saying: “I know some of you may have heard this kind of thing before. Four years ago, the former Prime Minister gave his big ‘levelling-up’ speech, a project he said would turn the tide on regional inequality in this country.

“People say to me the worst thing you can do in politics is prey on peoples’ fear. Yet in some ways, preying on their hopes is just as bad. That’s what the Tories did with levelling-up.

“It is a good ambition for Britain. But it requires, not just a new plan, also a fundamental shift in how we govern.”