Miliband to bring Labour Shadow cabinet to Scotland


  By a Newsnet reporter
Labour leader Ed Miliband has announced his intention to bring his shadow cabinet to Scotland in an attempt at persuading Scots that staying with the Union is the best way to protect against welfare cuts and a stagnant economy.
Miliband, who is coming under increasing pressure from many within his own party, is expected to use the trip to try boost his flagging leadership.

“I think the biggest issue facing people in Scotland and across the UK is the living standards crisis,” he told the Daily Record.

“We are going to bring the shadow cabinet up to Scotland for a living standards summit, to talk about the issues facing Scotland in terms of living standards and what a Labour Government would do to tackle them.

“What is clear to me is that while Scottish families are lying awake at night thinking about how to make ends meet, Alex Salmond is lying awake at night thinking about the constitution.”

In a throwback to Unionist claims of the past, Miliband suggested that independence would leave Scots worse off.

“I don’t think independence or separatism is going to solve people’s living standards problem – probably quite the reverse.  I do think a Labour Government can do that and I am determined to show how we are going to do that.”

However Miliband refused to commit to scrapping the controversial Bedroom Tax, pledging only that Labour would reveal plans in a future manifesto.

“The bedroom tax is an iniquitous tax,” he said, before adding, “When it comes to our manifesto we will be spelling out what we are going to do on the bedroom tax and it will be credible.”

The announcement of a Labour trip to Scotland follows similar plans confirmed by David Cameron after the PM confirmed the Tory/Lib Dem cabinet would itself head north this year.

The announcement of a Scottish trip by Mr Miliband follows disappointing polling for the party in north of the border.  Holyrood surveys have revealed Labour is in an even worse position than that which led to their humiliation in the 2011 Scottish election.

Labour’s leader in Scotland, MSP Johann Lamont, has faced similar criticism to that of her UK leader following what many have termed her ‘summer of silence’, despite a number of controversial issues emerging. 

The party was engulfed in a bitter war of words with the Unite union over the selection process in Falkirk which was supposed to see a replacement candidate for disgraced MP Eric Joyce selected.

More recently, the emergence of the Labour group – Labour for Independence – saw Lamont again fail to surface as her deputy, MP Anas Sarwar, spearheaded retaliatory attacks on the group.