There is clear support for a pro-UK, anti-austerity party
Well, what a result.
Everyone wrote the Labour Party off – both here in Scotland, and across the UK.
But we defied the pollsters, with Labour making significant gains on what will be remembered as a historic election night.
In Scotland we gained six seats from the SNP – nearly a quarter of all the gains across the UK – and today we have a fantastic group of MPs in Westminster who will always stand up for their constituents.
It’s been a long time since Labour had much to cheer about in Scotland. But just two years after nearly being wiped off the map, it’s clear that we’re now back as a political force.
We have seven Scottish Labour MPs, including Ian Murray who stormed his way to the largest majority in the country, and his new colleagues Hugh Gaffney, Ged Killen, Lesley Laird, Danielle Rowley, Paul Sweeney and Martin Whitfield.
And we were so close in many other seats. That’s why I am keeping our party on an election footing over summer. Next time there’s a General Election – and it could be sooner than we think – we will take even more seats off the SNP.
I always said our recovery will take time. And it will continue to take time.
But we have proved there is significant support in Scotland for a pro-UK, anti-austerity party.
Hundreds of thousands of Scots agreed with our message that Nicola Sturgeon should get back to the day job.
Under the SNP we have 4,000 fewer teachers, unacceptable waiting times in our hospitals, and a £170million budget cut to local services this year alone. I believe this should be the First Minister’s priority – and the voters agree.
We have four years until the next Holyrood election, and I will ensure that this SNP government is reminded every day what it should really be focusing on.
That means dropping plans for a divisive second independence referendum.
Nobody gets into the Labour Party to talk about the constitution. We care about tackling poverty and growing employment – not about flags and lines on a map.
However, the constitutional debate about Scotland’s future continues to sadly dominate our politics, which is why we have made clear our firm, cast-iron opposition to another referendum.
Voters who are just as fed up as I am with Nicola Sturgeon’s demands for another referendum backed Labour on Thursday.
But voters across Scotland weren’t just responding to Nicola Sturgeon’s woeful record in government.
They also responded to our positive vision of a country for the many, not the few.
Jeremy Corbyn’s uplifting campaign, full of hope and promise, captured the imagination of people here in Scotland and across the UK.
I pay tribute to the fantastic campaign he fought, and the Labour Party is united behind him as we seek to remove this weak and feeble Tory government that is now clinging onto power.
Britain deserves better than this grubby deal between Theresa May and the DUP.
The Prime Minister gambled on this election and she lost. It’s time for her to go.
This article first appeared in the Daily Record on Tuesday 13th June 2017