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Scottish Labour splits with Starmer on Thatcher

(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Labour might be making headway in the polls, but the party’s rifts haven’t gone away. Today, Anas Sarwar, the leader of Scottish Labour, has hit out at the late Margaret Thatcher – only days after Sir Keir Starmer praised her ‘natural entrepreneurialism’ in his Sunday Telegraph op-Ed. Speaking to reporters, Sarwar said:

Margaret Thatcher destroyed communities across the country. She decimated Scotland. That’s why it was right to oppose her then, and it’s right for us to oppose the modern day Thatcherism of this Conservative party.

His comments continue a trend of Scottish Labour pushing back on policy positions adopted by their London-based colleagues – including the bedroom tax, the two-child benefit cap and Scotland’s gender reforms. This time, unable to quite admit that his party’s leader might have misjudged his comments, Sarwar advised people to ‘read what he actually said in the article’, before turning the guns, slightly desperately, on a somewhat irrelevant ex-SNP leader:

I would remind opposition parties that it was Alex Salmond who said Scotland didn’t have a problem with Thatcher’s economic policies. Where were Humza Yousaf and Stephen Flynn then? Staying quiet…

I won’t get into the political games that the SNP is trying to play. I know they’d rather attack the Labour party than attack the Conservatives.

Rattled a little, Anas? Salmond for his part has come out swinging, labelling Sarwar a ‘wee boy’ who has to ‘learn to grow up’. At least Scotland’s politicians keep us entertained, if nothing else…

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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