Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer would work with Nicola Sturgeon to tackle the climate crisis but has ruled out any deal with the SNP leader on the constitution.
Sir Keir argued the focus should be on the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and climate change rather than Scottish independence, ahead of his two-day visit to Scotland.
He said he will happily sit down with the First Minister prior to November’s climate change summit in Glasgow “because leadership going into Cop26 requires that kind of diplomacy”.
In an interview with the Daily Record, Sir Keir lambasted Boris Johnson’s approach to Cop26, referencing the “staggering” gulf between the Prime Minister’s words and the actions required to tackle the climate crisis.
He also cited apparent failures of the Scottish Government, highlighting how wind turbines installed offshore are being made abroad.
“It is beyond belief those wind turbines are coming from places such as Indonesia instead of being built in Scotland,” he said.
Asked about whether there could be any arrangement with the SNP before or after the next general election, Sir Keir said: “Look, I will meet Nicola Sturgeon if she wants to talk through the challenges of the day.
“But on the constitution, going into the Scottish election and since the election, we’ve been clear the focus is on the recovery and on the climate challenge.
“We haven’t finished dealing with this pandemic. Many times in the last 12 months we’ve thought we’re coming out of it, only to find that there are rises in infections.
“We’ve got to finish rolling out the vaccinations and then look to the recovery side. So any conversation has to start there, not on the constitutional issue.”
The Labour leader also told the paper: “The questions going into that (general) election are going to be generational – how do we ensure, as we come out of the pandemic, we deal with the fundamental weaknesses that left us with the highest death toll and the biggest impact of any major economy? And secondly, how do we meet the climate emergency?
“They can only be answered by a strong Labour government.
“The central issue will be if you want a Labour government, you have to vote Labour. You can’t vote for another party and get a Labour government.
“That will be our strategic approach and there’ll be no coalition going into those elections and no coalition coming out of it.”