Starmer travels to Scotland in search of ‘reset’ in UK relations

Britain’s new Labour Prime Minister, Keir Starmer, will make his first official trip on Sunday, a trip to Scotland, seeking an “immediate resumption” of relations within the United Kingdom.

“People across the UK are united by shared beliefs. The core values ​​of respect, service and community that define us as a great nation,” the prime minister said in a statement before leaving.

“This starts today with an immediate reset of my government’s approach, because meaningful, respectful collaboration will be essential to delivering change across the UK,” he added.

Starmer will meet Scotland’s First Minister, John Swinney, of the pro-independence Scottish National Party, who replaced Humza Yousaf in the post on May 8, in the late afternoon.

The Scottish National Party collapsed in the legislative elections, retaining only 9 MPs, compared to 48 they achieved in the 2019 elections, out of 57 Scottish constituencies in the legislative elections.

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While the SNP had 1.2 million votes five years ago, last Thursday it had just over 700,000.

Sweeney expressed regret over the “very difficult and devastating” election result for his party.

Some analysts attribute this sharp decline in his attendance in the House of Commons to a beneficial vote, with many of his voters choosing Labour, ending fourteen years of Conservative power.

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At a press conference on Saturday, the new British prime minister said he wanted to “set out a way of working across the UK that is different and better than in the past and recognises the contributions of our four nations”.

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Former Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who holds office until February 2023, had criticised then Conservative Party chief executive Boris Johnson’s lack of communication during the Covid-19 pandemic, and expressed regret that her successor, Liz Truss, had not contacted her at the start of her tenure.

In the British political system, the governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have jurisdiction over some areas, such as education, health and the environment, while the British Executive, based in London, retains powers over defence and foreign policy, among other things.

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Tony Blair’s Labour government (1997-2007) was the architect of this system, called “devolution”, but during the Conservatives’ rule, between 2010 and 2024, local governments often accused the Conservatives of marginalising them.

After Scotland, Keir Starmer continues his tour of the United Kingdom on Monday, visiting Wales, which is governed by Labour’s Vaughan Gething, and Northern Ireland, where Prime Minister Michelle O’Neill, a republican from Sinn Fein, is in charge.

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