Sir Keir Starmer has said there will be no independence negotiations with the Scottish Government regardless of the election result in Scotland, effectively ruling out any chance of a referendum in the next five years.

Speaking to journalists on the campaign trail in Whitburn, the Labour leader said it would not be a priority for him or his administration. 

The SNP's manifesto states that if the party wins a majority of Scotland's 57 seats on July 4 “the Scottish Government will be empowered to begin immediate negotiations with the UK Government to give democratic effect to Scotland becoming an independent country.”

Earlier this week, John Swinney insisted that the pro-independence majority elected to Holyrood in 2021 means he has a mandate for talks regardless of the result. 

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Asked if he would agree to talks, Sir Keir said, "No."

"I think he's got his priorities wrong" he added.

“The ambition between the SNP and Labour is stark,” he said.

“We say elect Labour MPs in Scotland so they can sit at the heart of an incoming Labour government, bringing about the change that I think so many people in Scotland want.

“What the SNP says is send an MP to send a message, to sit literally on the opposition benches and shout across the aisle.”

Sir Keir said voters had a "binary choice" at the election between Rishi Sunak "continuing with the same as we’ve had for the same 14 years – chaos, division and failure –  or ushering in myself as prime minister leading a Labour government which is committed to rebuilding the country."


Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said Mr Swinney had "completely misjudged the mood of the Scottish people."

"One of the big drivers that led lots of Scots to vote SNP or support independence was because they wanted to get rid of a Tory government.

"And also because they didn't think Labour could win, to be frank about it.

"That's why for the last four years across the UK, four years here in Scotland, we've worked really hard to change the Labour Party, so we can look people in the eye in this election and try with humility and hard work to win their trust to win their support.

"And if you want to get rid of the Tories, if you want to put Scotland at the heart of a Labour government, then Scottish Labour's the vehicle for change and the SNP are purely protesting."

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SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn said it was “telling” that Sir Keir has “already adopted the same old Westminster arrogance when it comes to respecting Scottish democracy”.

“The right to self-determination doesn’t end because Sir Keir Starmer says so – the people of Scotland have the democratic right to choose our own future,” he added.

“It’s not asking a lot to expect anyone who calls themselves a democrat to respect that right too.~"

“Clearly Anas Sarwar’s recent statement that ‘it is for the Scottish people to decide’ amounts to empty words, and it proves how little influence he really has over his London boss, and just how little Starmer thinks of Scottish voters.

“Scotland deserves better than another Westminster government who’ll deny our right to choose our own future while at the very same time imposing austerity, Brexit and a cost-of-living crisis.”