Scottish election 2021: Labour will keep pressure on Nicola Sturgeon over Covid recovery – Ian Murray MP

After six weeks of campaigning, millions of pounds, all-night shifts and an unexpected amount of dancing, the results are in… and not much has changed.

Monday, 10th May 2021, 12:30 pm

The country is still divided down the middle. Votes for pro and anti-independence parties were split almost 50:50 despite the encouraging increase in turnout.

The people have delivered a conclusion that looks very similar to that of the last parliament – an SNP minority government that will rely on the support of the Greens.

I worry this could mean we will have five more years of constitutional paralysis to the detriment of building a fairer and more equal Scotland. You can see that already with the entire post-election coverage being about the constitution and another referendum.

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To focus on the process of a referendum rather than Covid recovery would be a travesty.

Rest assured, every single Scottish Labour MSP will return to Holyrood this week to prioritise recovery.

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Scottish Election 2021 results: Labour's Daniel Johnson holds Edinburgh Southern

We’re incredibly proud of the positive campaign the Scottish Labour Party ran, which shaped this entire election.

Anas Sarwar's leadership has helped to revitalise Scottish Labour (Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire)

I’m delighted that Daniel Johnson in Edinburgh Southern increased his majority threefold. It is testament to his dedication to local communities and people regardless of how they vote.

I’m also delighted that even the harshest of critics would accept that Scottish Labour is back on the pitch, driven by the optimism and unity message of Anas Sarwar.

We are building more than just an opposition to the SNP; we are building an alternative to the SNP.

With the Nationalists falling short of a majority, we will seek to ensure the Scottish government prioritises the recovery.

We have suffered an economic and health crisis harder and deeper than anything we have experienced in peace time.

Our health service has been left with a catastrophic backlog of cases, which must be prioritised.

A generation of children have had their schooling disrupted.

Businesses are struggling and jobs are under threat.

The climate emergency continues.

In the dying days of this campaign, under pressure from Labour, Nicola Sturgeon promised she would prioritise these issues.

She said she would prioritise recovery and we will hold her to that. We will not return to the old divisive arguments. Instead, we will push the government to be more ambitious.

More ambitious on its jobs plan so that more young people have the guarantee of work.

More ambitious on clearing the cancer backlog, so that fewer people have to suffer the anguish of waiting for treatment.

More ambitious for the security and growth of our businesses.

More ambitious to use Cop26 in Glasgow to deal with the climate emergency.

And more ambitious on a comeback plan for schools, so that children do not suffer long-lasting consequences from the lockdowns.

Our Scottish Parliament is one of the most powerful devolved parliaments in the world. Can you imagine what we could achieve for all our constituents if we obsessed about dealing with poverty, equality and aspiration as much as the obsession some have with the constitution?

It is a great responsibility to be elected to office to represent local communities. Let’s use this moment to bring the country together, work together, and make things better for everyone – together.

Ian Murray is the Scottish Labour MP for Edinburgh South

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