A FORMER Tory minister has introduced a speech on the economy by Labour’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves.

Keir Starmer’s party have once against been accused of replicating the Tories after Nick Boles, who quit Rishi Sunak’s party in early 2019 over a “refusal to compromise” on Brexit, introduced Reeves as she gave a speech in London on the economy.

Boles was a Tory MP from 2010 to 2019 and served as a planning minister in the government of David Cameron.

He also helped Cameron's own preparations for office in the run-up to the 2010 General Election by taking part in the opposition Tory party's access talks with the civil service.

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Earlier this year, it was revealed he was advising Labour Party shadow ministers as part of their ongoing preparations for government.

Ahead of Reeves’s speech on Tuesday, Boles lavished praise on her “discipline, responsibility, and sense of the importance of restraint”.

He further claimed that she understood the importance of demonstrating fiscal discipline to earn the right to bring about “transformative change”.

Sharing a picture of Boles introducing Reeves on social media, SNP MSP and Scottish Government minister Christina McKelvie said: "Starmer’s Labour a paler shade of Tory blue…" 

The SNP said Boles' appearance "should act as a warning to voters right across Scotland", adding that the views and values of Boles highlight the "new look Labour Party".

SNP MP Kirsty Blackman said:  "Just a week after Keir Starmer welcomed Tory MP Dan Poulter to the opposition benches with open arms, his Labour Party has once again shown its true colours by bringing former Tory MP Nick Boles into the fold.

"This is a man who on no less than 29 occasions, voted in favour of slashing welfare benefits for the most vulnerable in our society - and voted in favour of the grotesque bedroom tax on five separate occasions.

"This is a total embarrassment for Sir Keir Starmer's Labour Party, and should act as a warning to voters right across Scotland."

The BBC's economics editor Faisal Islam said it was "quite something" to see the former Conservative minister introducing the Labour shadow chancellor.

In the speech, Reeves said her party would use every day to “expose what the Conservatives have done to our country” and accused the Government of “gaslighting” the public by claiming Britain had “turned a corner”.

She said: “Instead of believing the Prime Minister’s claims that we’ve turned a corner, the questions people will ask ahead of the next election are simple.

“Do you and your family feel better off than you did after 14 years of Conservative government? Do our schools, our hospitals, our police, our transport work better than they did 14 years ago?

"Frankly, does anything in our country work better than it did when the Conservatives came into office 14 years ago?”

She dismissed suggestions the local election results in England last week point to the UK heading for a hung parliament.

Labour had a string of victories, including in Sunak’s own region of York and North Yorkshire and the key mayoral contest in the West Midlands.

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However, they suffered in areas where there are large Muslim populations such as Oldham in Greater Manchester which Pat McFadden, the party’s national campaign coordinator, conceded was due to their stance on Gaza.

Reeves’s speech came days ahead of the Bank of England’s next interest rates decision on Thursday and the release of figures covering the economy’s performance over the first three months of this year on Friday.

Economists are widely expecting the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee to keep rates at the current level of 5.25%, despite political pressure from the Government to start lowering rates before the election.

Reeves vowed that Labour would boost growth and “raise living standards, resource public services, and let Britain compete in the world once again”.

Asked whether Labour’s plans could still be achieved now it had rowed back on plans to invest £28 billion a year in the green economy, Reeves said she did not think her party’s objectives required the sum it had first set out and planning reform would be key to securing private investment.

She said: “We can do that through other means including the creation of GB Energy, the national wealth fund and, crucially, those planning reforms.”

Reeves also reiterated her party’s commitment to put forward legislation on a “new deal for working people” within the first 100 days of a new administration, but said businesses had “nothing to fear”.

But The National revealed last week Labour’s plan to water down pledges in the “new deal for working people” had infuriated some in Scottish Labour.

The “new deal for working people” had included pledges on increasing sick pay, ending “fire and rehire” and reversing anti-trade union legislation.

But the Financial Times reported that many measures were being toned down as Labour attempted to woo big business.

The story, which came out on International Workers’ Day, sparked anger in some quarters of Scottish Labour, with one insider telling The National that Starmer wanted to “humiliate” trade unions.

It also led to outrage from union chief Sharon Graham, the general secretary of Unite, who said: “Choosing May Day to give notice of watering down your promise to overhaul one of the worst sets of employment rights in Europe is beyond irony.”