UK faces ‘abyss’ under the Tories, Labour MP Ian Murray warns

April 21 2017, 12.13amUpdated: April 22 2017, 5.31pm
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Labour’s sole Scottish MP has warned the country is facing an “abyss” under the Conservatives as he criticised Theresa May for holding a “general election while Rome burns”.

Ian Murray said that rather than focusing on a general election campaign, the Prime Minister should be trying to get the “best and softest” Brexit deal for the UK.

With the general election now looming, he said: “We need to get rid of them, we need to get a Labour government.”

Mr Murray stood down from the shadow cabinet in protest over Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership but said if Labour was elected to power on June 8, he would be part of the government and take a ministerial post.

He said: “When we get a Labour government, if asked I’ll serve, and every other Labour MP will serve in that government as well.

“One bad day of Labour in government is worth 1,000 good Tory days and we’ve seen that already since 2015.”

Mr Murray was the only Scottish Labour MP returned to Westminster in 2015, surviving the SNP landslide to hold on to his Edinburgh South seat.

He insisted his chances of holding on to the constituency are “strong”.

He said: “Another Conservative MP merely bolsters a hard Brexit, an SNP MP bolsters an independence referendum.

“People in this constituency understand that.”

More than three-quarters of people in the seat voted to remain part of the European Union in last year’s referendum, Mr Murray said.

He added: “They don’t want to elect another Conservative MP to sit on the backbenches at Westminster to drive through the hard Brexit the Prime Minister wants, and they don’t want another independence referendum.”

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale joined Mr Murray campaigning in Edinburgh’s upmarket Morningside .

She said: “I was a Labour Party organiser in 2010 when Nigel Griffiths resigned as the MP for this constituency and Ian was selected by the local party with six or seven weeks to go.

“Nobody thought he was going to win then, everybody had written him off and he went on to win that seat by a matter of a hundred or so votes.

“Five years on the same scenario again, everybody said he was going to lose and that majority that was in the hundreds turned into the thousands, because of the kind of MP he is for this constituency, because of the work he’s done and the success that he’s had.”

Labour’s Scottish Executive Committee will meet on Saturday to begin the work of selecting candidates, the first time the process of choosing candidates for a Westminster election has been under complete control of the party north of the border.

While the party saw several high-profile politicians ousted from office in 2015, including then shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander, Ms Dugdale said: “I think it is unlikely you will see many people who stood in 2015 standing again.”

Although she campaigned against Jeremy Corbyn in the 2016 Labour leadership contest, Ms Dugdale backed him to be the next prime minister.

She said: “I f Jeremy Corbyn was prime minister there would be no rape clause, no bedroom tax, there would be no more austerity and we would be asking the richest people in society to pay more tax which we could invest in public services.”

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