Labour general election victory could have 'big implications' for Scotland

However the veteran MP says a win in 2024 doesn’t make a Holyrood win in 2026 ‘inevitable’

A Labour victory in this year’s general election could have “big implications” for Scotland, the party’s UK campaign co-ordinator has said.

However Pat McFadden, who has been an MP for almost 20 years, says Labour winning at the 2026 Holyrood election is not a done deal if Sir Keir Starmer wins the 2024 general election.

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When asked by Holyrood Magazine if a general election win for Labour makes a Scottish Parliament election win inevitable, Mr McFadden said: “No, I don’t think anything is inevitable, but if we’ve won at UK level that has big implications on its own for Scotland.

Pat McFadden MP on Sundays with Laura Kuenssberg. Image: Jeff Overs/BBC.Pat McFadden MP on Sundays with Laura Kuenssberg. Image: Jeff Overs/BBC.
Pat McFadden MP on Sundays with Laura Kuenssberg. Image: Jeff Overs/BBC.

“We were the founders of devolution, we legislated for it, I was involved in it when it happened.

“I worked in Number 10 when all that legislation was being formulated.

“I know it’s evolved since, but I was there are the start of it, and the vision of that was that in Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland, you would have government closer to the people who were directly elected, but at the same time you would maintain the UK and the common bonds that have existed, and we took the view and I still take it that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts and that together, we had something bigger than each of us had to offer the world.

“I still think that’s valid today and if we are elected that’s the view that the Labour Party would take.”

He added: “I would dearly like to see a situation where we had a Labour government at a UK level working with a Labour administration in Scotland, led by Anas Sarwar.”

Speaking ahead of the Scottish Labour Party conference in Glasgow this weekend, the Paisley-born MP says the party still has a “lot of work to turn a possibility into a reality”.

Mr McFadden said: “The SNP used to say there was no point in voting Labour in Scotland because we couldn’t win.

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“Now they’ll say there’s no point in voting Labour because we can’t lose.

“Well, I am clear that Labour victories are a rarity, you have to earn them, you have to work hard for them.”

He added he has told his staff not to believe Labour are “incumbents”, but rather the “challengers” in this general election campaign.

Mr McFadden, who previously worked for Tony Blair, John Smith and Donald Dewar, added: “The arithmetic we’ve got to overcome is really challenging, but I do believe we’re back on the pitch.

“I do believe that Keir Starmer deserves enormous credit for taking a party that came off the back of [the 2019] result and for turning it into a competitive force again, but we still have everything to prove.

“So things are possible, but it’s a lot of work to turn a possibility into a reality.”

Over the weekend Mr McFadden also defended Labour’s decision to ditch its promise of a £28 billion green investment plan.Last week Sir Keir and shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves jointly announced the party was cutting the investment in their green prosperity plan from £28bn a year to under £15bn.

At the time Sir Keir said: “We’ve always said we have to be within the fiscal rules and fiscal rules come first.”Speaking to BBC Sundays with Laura Kuenssberg, Mr McFadden said: “It’s a decision taken by Keir Starmer and taken for good reason.

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“When it was announced a couple of years ago, interest rates were 0.1 per cent and they are now at 5.2 per cent.

“Anyone who has had to remortgage knows what it means for their finances, and there is a parallel between household finances and the country’s finances.

“We have a duty in the general election that what we announce is deliverable.”

He added too much of the focus on this policy has been on public borrowing, and said there needs to be more of an acknowledgement that the just transition will “largely be driven by private sector investment”.

He added: “We’ve made an error sometimes in the Labour Party in including the worth of every policy with the amount of money spent on it.”

In the interview Mr McFadden added: “[Voters] could be forgiven for thinking from the coverage of recent days that we’ve abandoned these commitments.

“But we still have a commitment to GB Energy, a publicly-owned energy company to drive the just transition, we still have a commitment to a national wealth fund to maintain steel interests, a commitment to local power plant incentives for renewable energy in local areas, and a commitment to insulate millions of homes.

“There are good things that are still part of this plan.”



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