Labour will prioritise “co-operation over conflict to deliver for Scotland” the party’s Shadow Scottish Secretary has said.

Ahead of the publication of the party’s manifesto later today, Ian Murray told The Herald there would be a raft of new measures to “reset the relationship” between the UK and Scottish governments.

(Image: PA)

The Herald understands that the policy document will include a series of constitutional reforms including a promise to strengthen the Sewell Convention.

That is the understanding which means Westminster will not “normally” legislate in devolved areas without Holyrood’s permission, although ultimately it can do so.

Until 2018, there were never any circumstances where the UK Government legislated without first obtaining that consent.

Since then there have been 11 occasions where that convention has not been followed.

The first was passing the EU Withdrawal Act, despite most MSPs opposing it.

Labour's manifesto will commit the party to bringing in a new memorandum of understanding to “outline how the UK and Scottish Government can work together.”

READ MORE: Labour general election manifesto to confirm oil tax plans

It will also include a commitment to House of Lords reform with “an immediate end to hereditary peers and a road map to a more representative second chamber.”

As expected, it is a significant watering down of the plan drawn up by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown last year.

He had recommended the party replace the Lords with an elected Assembly of the Nations and Regions.

There will be a vow to create a new Council of the Nations and Regions “which will bring together the Prime Minister, the First Ministers of Scotland and Wales, the First and deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, and the Mayors of Combined Authorities.”

The manifesto will also support the Scottish Government to “partner with international bodies where relevant and appropriate, for example to collaborate on global health initiatives.”

The party are also proposing some changes at Holyrood, with MSPs given the same parliamentary privilege as their counterparts in Westminster.

Currently, members of both the Commons and Lords have certain legal immunities to perform their duties, including freedom of speech, freedom from arrest, and freedom from defamation actions.

It means they cannot be sued or charged with a criminal offence based on what they say in parliamentary proceedings.

However, the protection for MSPs is far more limited. They are protected from defamation over what is said in proceedings and some, but not all, court procedures.

Mr Murray said: “For too long Scots have been represented by two governments more interested in fighting each other than fighting for them. That needs to end.

“The next UK Labour government will reset the relationship between the UK and Scottish Governments with new ways of working.

“That includes strengthening Sewell, a new Council of Nations and Regions and better protections for MSPs to hold power to account.

“If we prioritise co-operation over conflict, we can deliver better results for the Scottish people.

“That will require both governments to recognise and respect the legitimate role they both have in representing and delivering for the Scottish people.

“A UK Labour government with Scottish Labour MPs at its heart will look to deliver for the change Scotland needs, and we’ll work with the Scottish Government to do so.”

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Ailsa Henderson, professor of political science at the University of Edinburgh said there would be public support for of the measures proposed by the party.

"The proposal for immediate Lords reform will come as a pleasant surprise to those who felt Labour would propose little by way of constitutional reform so as not to rock the boat," she said.

The professor added: "The strengthening of Sewell is also something we know from our State of the Union survey is remarkably popular: voters in devolved territories are not comfortable with the UK government legislating without the consent of devolved legislatures. 

"As for the new Council, this, as with so much of UK inter-governmental relations, depends on the practice not the principle: how often will it meet, and will it be a forum for devolved leaders to speak and influence as well as listen.

"Experiences during the pandemic suggested that getting everyone in the same room was a first step, but it often meant telling the devolved administrations what was going to happen. 

"If this is the start of a genuine process of listening and parity of esteem across the governments of the UK then it is very much to be welcomed."

Last week Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves's promise last week that a Labour government in London would "want to work in partnership" with the SNP government in Edinburgh.

When asked by The Herald on Sunday if he would commit to work with Sir Keir and Ms Reeves, John Swinney said he would.

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He said the relationship between the Scottish Government and the UK Goverment over the last five years had “been disrespectful.”

Mr Swinney said he had “never felt as disrespected" as he was by Boris Johnson and his ministers.

“The Truss government was just an aberration. And the Sunak government has been no better," he added.

“Integral to that has been the disruptive, damaging contribution of the Scotland Office.”

“I would positively welcome a new government willing to work with us,” he added.

“I will pledge my government to work with the UK Government.”

READ MORE: Swinney: SNP will work with Labour government

Labour's manifesto is due to be launched in Manchester later this morning. It is also expected to include a pledge to cap corporation tax at its current rate of 25% to give businesses long-term certainty.

It is the latest in a series of pledges not to raise tax. Labour has already ruled out raising rates of income tax, national insurance or VAT, and said the manifesto will contain no tax rises that have not already been announced.

Those increases are charging VAT on private school fees, abolishing the non-dom tax status and closing “loopholes” in the windfall tax on oil and gas companies which sees oil and gas producers get 91p in tax relief for every £1 they invest.

Sir Keir is expected to say “wealth creation" will be Labour's "number one priority."

“Growth is our core business – the end and the means of national renewal.

“The mandate we seek from Britain at this election is for economic growth.

“This changed Labour Party has a plan for growth. We are pro-business and pro-worker, the party of wealth creation.”

Conservative chairman Richard Holden repeated his party’s widely criticised claim that Labour’s plans would see households pay another £2,000 in tax over the next four years.

He said: “Labour aren’t being honest with the public; they are refusing to say what they would really do because they know it would lose them votes.

“Labour will tax your family home, tax your pension, tax your job and tax your car and drag pensioners into the Retirement Tax.

“Sir Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner are asking for a blank cheque and it’s becoming clear what he wants to do with it – put up your taxes.

“Only Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives have a clear plan to cut taxes, backed by bold action, to chart a course to a more secure future for Britain.”

SNP candidate for Edinburgh East and Musselburgh,Tommy Sheppard, said: "The Labour Party and this manifesto needs to stop hiding from the fact that they can't credibly back economic growth and back Brexit - they can't support public services while supporting £18 billion of austerity cuts."

"The complete collapse of the Tories guarantees that Sir Keir Starmer will be the next Prime Minister of the UK.

"The real choice for Scotland now is whether we give Sir Keir Starmer a free pass to impose more Westminster public service cuts, or whether we have a strong Scottish voice there to stop him.

"For voters in Scotland there is another option in this election - voting SNP on 4th July to reject Westminster cuts, protect our NHS and put Scotland's interests first."