‘Nobody understands Scotland’, claims candidate in Labour deputy leadership contest

PUBLISHED: 08:21 19 February 2020 | UPDATED: 08:21 19 February 2020

(left to right) Labour deputy leadership candidates Ian Murray, Angela Rayner, Richard Burton, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan and Dawn Butler during the Labour leadership hustings at the SEC centre, Glasgow. Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA.

(left to right) Labour deputy leadership candidates Ian Murray, Angela Rayner, Richard Burton, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan and Dawn Butler during the Labour leadership hustings at the SEC centre, Glasgow. Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Labour deputy leader candidate Ian Murray has claimed that ‘nobody understands Scotland’ in the race.

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Murray claimed that discussing the importance of Scotland had only been raised by candidates for the position after he entered the contest.

The Edinburgh South MP, the only remaining Scottish Labour MP, also said that Rebecca Long-Bailey - running to be leader of the party - had so far failed to speak to him about Scotland.

"Nobody understands Scotland and they still don't. When you mention Scotland, everyone runs as far as they possibly can," Murray told the PA news agency at his Westminster office.

"Now that's not a criticism, that's just a reality because I wouldn't dare to try and understand the politics of Birmingham or the East Midlands or Wales, etc etc. Why would you, because you have your own speciality and interests."

Asked whether candidates' awareness of Scottish issues was improving, he said: "It's getting better, but it's only getting better because I entered this race.

"I've spoken to them all apart from Rebecca, because Rebecca has got the Jeremy Corbyn continuity attitude to Scotland which is completely wrong.

"The other deputy leadership candidates are now all talking about the importance of Scotland, talking about the importance of how we govern the UK, talking about the importance of the constitution and of the English regions, and that's only because I entered this race."

Murray also insisted that it was time for some "bloody honesty" about why Labour lost the general election.

He said: "The whole reason that I've entered the deputy leadership race, yes I'm in it to win it, but the second was to try and get some bloody honesty about what's actually happened here - Jeremy Corbyn, Brexit and a policy platform that (voters) didn't think could be delivered. That's it. Anybody else that thinks it's the BBC's fault or the Daily Mail's is off the wall."

Asked whether any of the current leadership contenders had reached out to him as the only Scottish Labour MP for his advice on Scotland, he said that he had not yet been contacted by Long-Bailey.

"I've been speaking a lot to Keir's team and to Keir," said Murray.

"Also Keir has been talking to a lot of people in Scotland to try and get that viewpoint, that's a sensible viewpoint. I mean, Keir's now talking about a constitutional convention which I've been speaking about now for three years. So he's on that platform.

"I think Lisa Nandy's been incredibly strong on the Scotland issues and I've been speaking to her about that. Rebecca's obviously not reached out because Rebecca thinks that this 'continuity-Corbyn' is the way to win elections and it's just not.

"And that's disappointing, and it's even more disappointing that not only is it Rebecca that's saying that, but she's (on a slate with) Angela Rayner. You know, the two of them are backing each other's campaigns.

"We've got Richard Burgon who takes the Rebecca Long-Bailey route as well, we've got Dawn Butler who spoke at the Cardiff hustings about letting people get on with governing the way they want in terms of Scotland if it breaks away, it breaks away, Wales... it was just madness.

"So a lot of the other candidates, I'm dragging them along on this kind of basis and to be fair to Keir and Lisa, they've both sought advice on this, not just from me but from other sensible voices in Scotland. Rebecca's decided not to."

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