UK

Starmer’s crippling caution suffocating optimism, says Flynn

The Labour leader has been criticised for what opponents see as an over-abundance of caution.

The SNP Westminster leader’s comments come as the party is set to publish its manifesto
The SNP Westminster leader’s comments come as the party is set to publish its manifesto (Jonathan Hordle/ITV/PA)

Sir Keir Starmer’s “crippling caution” in the General Election campaign is “suffocating optimism”, the SNP’s Westminster leader has said.

The Labour leader has been repeatedly criticised during the campaign by opponents over what they see as a failure to offer radical change from the Conservatives, including in not scrapping the two-child limit on benefits, instead taking a more disciplined approach to public spending.

But despite claims from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) – repeatedly touted by the SNP – that spending cuts will be required in the future, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar emphatically said there would be no austerity under Sir Keir’s leadership.

The Labour leader’s plans were ‘suffocating optimism’, Stephen Flynn said
The Labour leader’s plans were ‘suffocating optimism’, Stephen Flynn said (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Writing in the Daily Record, Stephen Flynn said: “The other strange thing about this election is that the crippling caution of Sir Keir Starmer is suffocating any sense of enthusiasm.

“Starmer’s status quo, his choice to change the guard but not to change course, won’t deliver real change.

“The consequence of Starmer’s caution means more spending cuts, more Brexit and more of the same.”

The SNP has repeatedly claimed £18 billion of cuts will be required in the future, with the party suggesting £1.45 billion of those would impact budgets in Scotland as a result of its population share.

The party – along with the Scottish Lib Dems, Scottish Labour and the Scottish Greens – will publish its manifesto this week, with both First Minister John Swinney and Mr Flynn claiming it will be the only “left of centre” set of pledges published by a major party in this campaign.

“The closer we get to polling day, the greater the desire for an alternative to the Westminster status quo,”  said the Westminster leader – who faces a tough fight in his Aberdeen South seat.

“On re-entering the European single market, on investment in public services, on the race to net zero, SNP MPs will offer that positive alternative.

“We will be the only major party with a truly left of centre manifesto. We won’t give in to a Westminster status quo designed and delivered by the Conservatives.

“Now that the Tories are finally done, it’s not a time for the caution Starmer is clinging to. It has to be a moment to deliver real change.”

The First Minister will continue his tour of the Highlands and islands on Monday, heading to the Western Isles.