The National:

KEIR Starmer will be quaking in his boots.

Scottish tree huggers have hit back at the head honcho for reportedly saying “I hate tree huggers” during a shadow cabinet meeting. 

The Labour leader apparently made the comments in a meeting the day after he gave a major speech on Labour’s energy policies

The party’s climate and net zero spokesperson Ed Miliband was telling his colleagues of the change his policies would bring, but Starmer was reportedly not impressed. 

A source told The Sunday Times, in comments that have since been denied by Labour: “He was more interested in creating sustainable new jobs to replace jobs in old sectors that were being lost. He then said he was not interested in tree huggers, before adding to everyone’s surprise, ‘In fact, I hate tree huggers’.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Tree Hugging Championship – taking place later this month – said Starmer’s comments were “disappointing”, adding that the term ‘tree huggers’ is “derogatory”.

The National:

Hugh Asher said: “This term is increasingly used to mock or belittle people who are passionate about environmentalism, conservation, or are advocating for the protection of nature.

“The origins of the term can be traced back to the Chipko environmental movement of the early 1970s, when activists were known to physically embrace trees to prevent them from being cut down.

“It is now more commonly used in this derogatory way to portray environmentalists as overly idealistic or extremist in their views, to undermine the validity of their concerns, and as a way to dismiss and ridicule those advocating for change, portraying them as irrational or out of touch.

“At the Scottish Tree Hugging Championships we like to celebrate tree huggers and tree hugging instead. We host a friendly event each July that is all about having light-hearted fun, but also about promoting greater understanding about the benefits of trees for health and raising awareness of the importance of nature and the natural environment.”

So, it turns out that Scottish tree huggers can be added to the list of those who don’t like Sir Keir. 

If you fancy hugging a tree, this year’s Scottish Tree Hugging Championships are being held on July 29 in the woods around Lochan na Dunaich near Salen, a small coastal village on the shores of Loch Sunart.

No coalition, says Flynn

In slightly more serious news, Stephen Flynn has insisted that “under no circumstances” would the SNP want to be part of a coalition with Labour in Westminster.

The SNP Westminster group leader told  Sophy Ridge on Sunday on Sky News that if Starmer’s party wins the next General Election, his party would not be interested in a power-sharing pact.

However, he did say that he would “support” a government that backed principles such as allowing the people of Scotland to “decide their own future”.

We previously told how Flynn dismissed a trade-off with Labour over indyref2 in May, but admitted that a hung parliament will be “key” to Scotland’s future.

The head honcho and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar have both repeatedly ruled out any deals with the SNP before or after a General Election.

And I doubt Starmer’s apparent attack on tree huggers will have done much to change things ...