Lord Darling says No to ‘progressive alliance’

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Former Chancellor Alistair Darling has dismissed the idea of a progressive SNP-Labour alliance against the Tories after June 8 as “absolute nonsense”.

His remarks came during a visit to Clarkston yesterday, where he was supporting Labour hopeful Blair McDougall’s bid to regain for his party the seat lost to the SNP’s Kirsten Oswald in the 2015 General Election.

During his visit to East Renfrewshire Lord Darling said: “There’s absolutely nothing progressive about breaking up the United Kingdom, nor is there anything progressive about spending the next few years talking about a referendum when we had one three years ago when Scotland voted decisively to stay as part of the United Kingdom.

“If you look at things like health and education the nationalists’ record in Scotland is atrocious.

“There’s nothing progressive about educational standards going backwards, there’s nothing progressive about longer waiting lists in the health service both of which the nationalists totally control, so I just think it’s absolute nonsense.”

Attacking the Tories, he said: “Nearly half the population voted against Brexit and during the course of the campaign the Tories have clearly fixed to the right and are trying to move the Brexit vote.”

He added they had “made very little attempt to reach out to the half of the population who take a very different view of the world they want to live in.”

Candidate Blair McDougall said: “If voters in East Renfrewshire want to send Nicola Sturgeon a message that we don’t want another divisive independence referendum then they have to vote Labour on June 8.”

However Kirsten Oswald has been “reminding” local voters that Lord Darling led “the disastrous alliance with the Tories” during the independence referendum.

She argues only the SNP can stop Tory leader Theresa May having “a free hand” after June 8, and has vowed to fight what she considers a major Tory threat to pensions.

Finance secretary Derek Mackay MSP, supporting her re-election bid in East Renfrewshire this week, said the reputation she has gained with constituents since her 2015 landslide victory over Labour’s Jim Murphy is impressive.

It’s understood that party election campaigns across Scotland have been suspended today, in light of the latest horrific atrocity in London.