Jeremy Corbyn to tour SNP-held constituencies

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Jeremy CorbynImage source, Reuters
Image caption,
Mr Corbyn held a rally in Glasgow the day before May's general election

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is to tour SNP-held constituencies in Scotland next month as he seeks to keep his party on an election footing.

Mr Corbyn will spend five days in Scotland, and aims to speak to thousands of voters in marginal seats.

The Labour leader remains hopeful the Tory government will collapse, sparking another election.

Labour believes 18 of the 64 seats it would need to win in order to secure a majority are in Scotland.

But an SNP spokesman said: "On Mr Corbyn's trip north, perhaps he can discuss all the policy differences with the head of his Scottish branch office - such as Trident renewal. That is, if they are on speaking terms."

SNP MSP James Dornan added: "Labour have learned nothing because rather than holding the Tories to account, they are still campaigning in Scotland against the SNP, which is odd given the majority of Corbyn's policies are already being delivered by a progressive SNP Scottish government.

"And no one in Scotland should be in any doubt - whether under Kezia Duglade or Corbyn - Labour are a party that backs an extreme Tory Brexit and policies like Trident renewal, against Scotland's national interests."

Surpassed expectations

The SNP seats Labour is targeting include Glasgow South West; Glasgow East; Airdrie and Shotts; Lanark and Hamilton East; Motherwell and Wishaw; Inverclyde; and Dunfermline and West Fife, where swings of less than 1% are required for Labour to win.

A further 10 central belt constituencies would require swings of between 1.4% and 3.6%, while the Western Isles would take a swing of 3.4% to change hands.

The party already holds seven seats north of the border, after it surpassed expectations in last month's snap general election.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Mr Corbyn believes Labour can win up to 18 of the 35 Westminster seats currently held by the SNP

It held onto Ian Murray's Edinburgh South constituency, and won a further six seats held by the SNP.

Mr Corbyn said: "Labour remains on an election footing as a government-in-waiting, ready to end failed austerity and ensure that Scotland has the resources it needs to provide the public services its people deserve.

"Unlike the SNP and the Tories, Labour will transform our economy through investment, insisting that the true wealth creators - that means all of us - benefit from it.

"The only way to remove the Conservatives from Downing Street, and have a government that works for the many, not the few, is to back Labour in Scotland."

'Corbyn effect'

Meanwhile, the Campaign for Socialism - a left-leaning group within Scottish Labour - has called for the party to embrace Mr Corbyn's message north of the border.

It claims that Kezia Dugdale's leadership of Scottish Labour held back the UK-wide Labour effort in last month's election, stifling the so-called "Corbyn effect" in Scotland.

During the campaign, Ms Dugdale insisted she had faith in Mr Corbyn, despite backing Owen Smith during last year's leadership challenge.

A Campaign for Socialism spokesman said: "In Scotland we looked more like Jim Murphy's Labour Party than Jeremy Corbyn's - and that isn't a good look.

"We need to change - but that's more about changing emphasis than leadership.

"Jeremy has put Labour on the path to government across the UK because 'for the many, not the few' is a message that resonates. It's one that Scottish Labour needs to send."

Ms Dugdale has been running her own summer campaign in Scotland under the banner "for the many" - a slogan aligned with UK Labour's own key election message.

She said: "The Labour Party is growing, with more members signing up every day. We continue to offer hope with our radical policies to transform Scotland as part of our pro-UK, anti-austerity message.

"I look forward to joining Jeremy in August as we take our message to the people of Scotland."