Sar­war has eyes on first min­is­ter job

Pol­i­tics: MSP takes aim at Stur­geon

The Press and Journal (Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS -

MSP Anas Sar­war has launched his Scot­tish Labour lead­er­ship cam­paign with a pledge to de­liver “equal­ity, op­por­tu­nity and fair­ness” in power.

He spoke of his am­bi­tion to be­come Scot­land’s next first min­is­ter dur­ing the event held in Ni­cola Stur­geon’s Glas­gow South­side con­stituency.

The Glas­gow politi­cian said he would pur­sue poli­cies to “res­cue the NHS”, end the gen­der pay gap and lift chil­dren out of poverty by topping up child ben­e­fit, as he out­lined his lead­er­ship pitch.

“De­spite be­ing a Glas­gow MSP, de­spite rep­re­sent­ing one of the poor­est com­mu­ni­ties in our coun­try, Ni­cola Stur­geon’s SNP has presided over £400mil­lion of cuts to this city,” he said.

“Half of the chil­dren in this con­stituency are de­prived. That is a na­tional dis­grace. And yet Ni­cola Stur­geon re­fuses to use the pow­ers we have to help them.

“Our plans to top up child ben­e­fit would be worth mil­lions of pounds to fam­i­lies in this city, but she fails to act.

“That is why here in the Gor­bals, at the start of this cam­paign, we are park­ing our tanks on Ni­cola Stur­geon’s lawn. This cam­paign is not just about elect­ing a Labour leader, it’s about elect­ing the next Labour first min­is­ter.”

He added: “I don’t want to be a Scot­tish Labour who just talks about fight­ing in­equal­ity, cre­at­ing op­por­tu­nity and build­ing a fairer so­ci­ety.

“I want to de­liver that equal­ity, op­por­tu­nity and fair­ness as the next first min­is­ter of Scot­land.”

Mr Sar­war also told Labour sup­port­ers they could choose “to con­tinue to di­vide, or to bring our party and our coun­try to­gether”. A Scot­tish Labour MEP has called for the ground­work to be laid for a pos­si­ble coali­tion between the party and the SNP at Holy­rood.

David Martin said while the prospect may seem “un­think­able” to many, signs of in­creas­ing co-op­er­a­tion between the two par­ties had been grow­ing.

He said: “There are sig­nals, very weak sig­nals, the real hate – and it was hate – between Labour and the SNP is be­gin­ning to weaken.

“I would not quite say there is a rap­proche­ment but there is more pos­si­bil­ity of co-op­er­a­tion and work­ing to­gether than in a long time.”

A Scot­tish Labour spokesman said: “We do not sup­port a deal, pact or coali­tion with the SNP.”

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