Sarwar fails to back Starmer over EU remarks

ANAS Sarwar has failed to back Keir Starmer’s position on the EU after the Labour leader ruled out attempting to bring the UK back in to the bloc.

Sir Keir said this morning that there was “no case” for rejoining the European Union, confirming he would not seek to do so if he became Prime Minister.

However it is at odds with previous comments by his Scottish Labour counterpart Anas Sarwar, who has said that Brexit has been bad for Scotland and he would seek to be more closely aligned with the single market.

The SNP has claimed Sir Keir’s remarks show that the only way for Scotland to rejoin the EU would be as an independent country. 

READ MORE: SNP pounce on Starmer as Labour leader claims ‘no case’ to rejoin EU

Asked about Sir Keir’s comments, Mr Sarwar did not say whether he agreed or disagreed with the Labour leader.

Instead he said that there should be a focus on creating a “period of calm” after the turmoil of the pandemic, adding that Scottish independence would “multiply” the effects of Brexit.

He also accused the SNP and Tories of wanting to drag people back in to old political arguments while his party were looking to progress and rebuild the country.

Mr Sarwar explained: “I wish we had never left the European Union and I hope we can build as close a relationship as possible going forward.

“But, we have all gone through the collective trauma of Covid over the last two years.

“Our country pulled together to help us get through, but the SNP and the Tories now want us to come through that and go back to fighting with each other again.

“Independence does not mitigate the consequences of Brexit, it multiplies them.

“After all the anger and division of recent years, layered with the trauma of the pandemic, a period of calm where we focus on rebuilding our country for the future should be our focus.”

The Scottish Labour leader then suggested people should not fall back on divisions of the past, including the issue of independence.

He said: “I can only credibly say ‘Let’s not come through Covid and go back to the old arguments’ if I include, not just the yes versus no question, but also the leave versus remain question.

“We are in the middle of a cost of living crisis and over 650,000 of our fellow citizens are on NHS waiting lists, instead of the past, our focus must be on building the future.”

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