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Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Starmer Arrives in Scotland


Sun 07 Jul 2024 | 09:51 PM
Israa Farhan

New British Prime Minister Keir Starmer is set to visit Scotland on Sunday, marking the first stop in his tour of the United Kingdom's regions.

This visit aims to "reset" the sometimes-strained relationships between London and the regional governments.

Starmer will meet Scottish First Minister James Sweeney in the afternoon. Sweeney's Scottish National Party (SNP) suffered a significant defeat in the recent parliamentary elections, retaining only nine seats compared to 48 in the previous election.

During his first Cabinet meeting, Starmer emphasized that the Labour Party had received a "clear mandate" following its resounding victory in the parliamentary elections.

He stressed the need to establish a different and better way of working across the UK, recognizing the contributions of all four regions.

In the UK's political system, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have devolved governments with powers over areas such as education, health, and the environment, while the British government retains control over defense and foreign policy.

This system, known as "devolution," was introduced by the Labour government under Tony Blair (1997-2007). However, during the 14 years of Conservative rule, regional governments often accused London of marginalizing them.

Former Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon criticized the difficult communication with Boris Johnson during the COVID-19 pandemic and expressed disappointment that his successor, Liz Truss, did not contact her directly even after a month in office.

Starmer, ahead of his Scotland visit, stated his intention to "immediately reset" relations with regional leaders, emphasizing that collaboration based on respect would be essential to bring about change across the UK.

Following Scotland, Starmer will visit Wales, led by Labour's Vaughan Gething, and then Northern Ireland, where Sinn Féin's Michelle O'Neill leads the government.