LABOUR former Chancellor Alistair Darling has hit out at Tory Brexiteers, warning the general election must not be hijacked by “extreme people with a bleak, narrow view of our country’s future”.
Campaigning with Ian Murray in Bruntsfield, he said the big issue in the election was the country’s future after Brexit and claimed majority of people wanted a “sensible” relationship with Europe.
He said: “We now face a situation where we have a very, very uncertain future following the Brexit vote. It wasn’t the result I wanted but democracy means that that is where we are.
“I think there is a very real risk that the debate in this country is going to be hijacked by people who take a very extreme, bleak and narrow view of what this country can be. And that’s why I want to see as many Labour MPs as possible in the House of Commons.”
Lord Darling, who stood down as MP for Edinburgh South West at the last general election, appeared to concede Labour was not going to win on June 8.
He said: “It’s important we get the best possible result for the country - that means having a sensible sizeable opposition that can actually make a difference.”
Asked if he endorsed Jeremy Corbyn as leader, Lord Darling said: “He is the leader, he is the leader right up to the general election.
“My view is we need to get on, we’re fighting a general election campaign, you know leaders come and go.”
He added: “He’s the leader, it’s for him to convince people in the next six weeks and voters will make of it what they will.”
He also attacked the SNP and urged Nicola Sturgeon to drop the idea of a second independence referendum.
“We decided three years ago very clearly that we wanted to stay in the United Kingdom. We were told it was a once-in-a-generation choice then, and many people believed that was the case. We don’t want to reopen that.”
But Lord Darling, who led the Better Together campaign in 2014, ruled out taking a lead role in a similar future campaign.
“It’s for another generation to take the lead,” he said. “I’ve stepped well back from front line politics now - this is the second general election I will not have contested. So It’s for others to do that. But I don’t actually think the majority of people in Scotland want another referendum.”