ANAS Sarwar is in full 'nothing to do with me' mode as he (for the umpteenth time in recent months) tries to pretend that decisions made by his boss Keir Starmer are not in any way reflective of the Labour branch office in Scotland. 

This is despite the fact that as far as the House of Commons is concerned there is no such thing as a distinctively 'Scottish Labour' set of policies and positions, there is only the British flag worshipping centre-right Labour party of Keir Starmer, no matter how much the anti-independence media in Scotland colludes in Anas Sarwar's deception that Scottish Labour offers something different. 

The National: Keir Starmer with Natalie Elphicke in his parliamentary office in the House of Commons

The cause of Sarwar's most recent bout of dissembling was the decision of his boss to welcome hard right Brextremist and anti-immigration Tory MP Natalie Elphicke into the Labour party. Elphicke has not recanted a single one of her hard right political views. She was an enthusiastic supporter of Liz Truss and a member of the Conservative party's anti-EU European Research Group which pushed for a no deal Brexit, yet she now sits as a Labour MP. 

Elphicke has also been accused of lobbying the justice secretary in 2020 to interfere in her then-husband's trial on charges of sexual assault, although she has denied this. Her former husband Charlie Elphicke, who at the time was the Conservative MP for the Dover constituency now represented by his ex-wife, was convicted of three counts of sexual assault in 2020 and sentenced to two years in jail. He was released in 2021 after serving half of his sentence. 

Sarwar might not like this development, the latest in a long series of right-wing moves by Starmer which will not sit well with the electorate in Scotland. Yet for all that he takes to a sympathetic Scottish media to harrumph about it, he has no choice but to suck it up.

 The National: Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar suggested the SNP would be punished by voters if they do not back a minority Labour government (Jane Barlow/PA)

Speaking to the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme, the Scottish Labour leader was asked what he made of the decision to accept a hard right Tory MP into the Labour Party and allow her to sit as a Labour MP. 

He said: "Look, I don't know Natalie Elphicke, I've never met Natalie Elphicke. Looking at some of the comments that have been attributed to her or that she has said, I find them completely unacceptable, I don't agree with them." 

Or, to paraphrase: "Nothing to do with me, mate." 

He insisted that Elphicke would never be accepted as a candidate for the Labour Party in Scotland. Well no, as far as anyone is aware she's not a member of an Orange Lodge. 

Unlike Sarwar, Starmer has said he was "delighted" with Elphicke's defection, saying it showed his party was "the party of the national interest". Presumably that means Starmer defines the "national interest" as hating immigrants and the EU. 

The truth is that it makes no difference what Sarwar opines. If UK Labour HQ decided that it was going to parachute in Elphicke as a candidate in Scotland, Anas Sarwar would still have to grin and bear it, and would doubtless then insist to the Scottish media that Elphicke had a "story to tell" about Scotland, much like the other candidates who have been parachuted in from England to represent Scottish seats. 

Labour’s recent stance makes Suella Braverman look like a dangerous lefty 

Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman is one of Rishi Sunak's many enemies on the right of the Conservative Party who sits on the backbenches plotting against him. But unlike her former colleague Natalie Elphicke, she won't be welcome in the Labour Party any time soon. 

The National: Home Secretary Suella Braverman (Peter Byrne/PA)

It's not her reprehensible views on immigration that Starmer would find too hard to swallow – they are not that different from those of Elphicke. What puts Braverman beyond the pale of Labour acceptability is that she has now taken to espousing certain policy positions which are far too dangerously left wing for Starmer's Labour. 

No one would ever have pegged Suella Braverman as a dangerous lefty – just as dangerous – but that's where we are now in the insane world of Westminster politics. 

In a piece for the Sunday Telegraph, Braverman took aim at the two-child benefits cap – which prevents families claiming tax credits or universal credit for a third or subsequent child born after 2017. 

The cap has long been slated as driving families into destitution while failing in its stated aim of incentivising work. More than half (59%) of families affected by the limit already have at least one parent in work, in low paid jobs which mean the family is unable to get by on their wages. 

You don't have to be a genius here to work out that the real problem is low paid work, not the benefits system, and that it should really not be the government's job to subsidise employers who do not pay their staff a living wage. 

The two-child benefits cap has not incentivised work. What it has done is ensure that 43% of families with three or more children are now living in poverty. That is a shameful statistic and a disgrace. 

However, this is a legacy of Conservative rule that Starmer's Labour Party is not disposed to change, citing the cost of abolishing the cap, even as Labour refuses to raise taxes on the wealthy and commits to raising defence expenditure to 2.5% of GDP. 

Labour can find the cash for bombs, but not for bairns. 

The problem Starmer has in taking the Labour Party so far to the right is that is exposes him to political attacks from the left, and when that attack from the left comes from someone like Braverman, you can see just how far to the right Labour has travelled.