Mark Lazarowicz, MP for Edinburgh North and Leith from 2001 to 2015

THE big victor in Scotland in the general election was, of course, Ruth Davidson’s Conservative Party.

But Scottish Labour did see a modest three per cent increase in votes, which the vagaries of the electoral system produced a more substantial increase in seats. What is interesting is that much of the extra Labour support (with some notable exceptions) evidently came not from tactical voting, but from SNP voters who decided they liked the policy package and personality of Jeremy Corbyn.

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I’ve always believed that the strategy of placing a heavy reliance on tactical votes, or vote transfers, from other Unionist parties was a dead end for Labour. It might win a few seats, but it’s not the way to win back support from former Labour voters who’ve moved to the SNP. In a competition to show which party is the most unionist, Labour will always be outflanked by the Tories. What the general election result does is to give Scottish Labour is a chance to reposition itself in Scottish politics. As well as having a radical policy agenda, Labour could make clear its commitment to the principle that the relationship between Scotland and the other UK nations should be that of a partnership between equals. That could include new constitutional arrangements to ensure that the principles of the devolution settlement cannot be overruled by any UK government. They could also provide that fundamental changes in the UK’s international relationships should require consent of all the nations within the UK.

Labour could also back a reconsideration of the rushed conclusions of the Smith Commission, and establish a much more coherent ‘devo-max’ settlement. Obvious candidates for that would be a devolution of responsibility for the welfare system as a whole to the Scottish Parliament; and the power for Scotland to develop immigration rules to meet its needs, something which already has widespread support in Scotland.

Such an agenda could win cross-party support, which might even make it possible to get the necessary legislation through the current UK ‘hung Parliament’.