KEIR Starmer made a “bizarre” claim during his conference speech which suggested Scottish people don’t want to give their blood donations to the English.
The Labour party leader was giving his keynote speech to his party’s conference on Wednesday when he referenced an opinion piece written by Gordon Brown in the New Statesman.
Despite being consistently heckled during the almost 90-minute long speech, Starmer finally turned his attention to Scotland after over an hour and 15 minutes.
Starmer typically took a pop at the SNP during the short time his focus was north of the Border, claiming that the UK is “more progressive together”.
However, many reacted angrily to the suggestion that Scottish or Welsh patients wouldn’t ask for assurances that their donated blood would not go to an English patient – with some saying he should “hang his head in shame”.
Others called the comments “disgraceful” and suggested it proved Starmer had no real argument against independence.
The SNP said the speech highlighted how “out of touch” the party is in Scotland and that they are “doomed to irrelevance”.
He claimed that under Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar that they are now “the party of the Union” and that they want to “bring our nations together”.
However, he then went on to say: “We are greater as Britain than we would be apart.
“As Gordon Brown said recently, when a Welsh or Scottish woman gives blood, she doesn’t demand an assurance that it must not go to an English patient.
“I’m delighted that Gordon will lead our commission to settle the future of the Union.”
SNP MP Anne McLaughlin was one of many to criticise the comments.
She wrote on Twitter: “Keir Starmer talking nonsense. When a Scottish or Welsh woman gives blood, she doesnt say it mustn’t go 2someone English.
“What kind of argument against #IndyWales / #indyscotland is that supposed to be?
“Not got headspace to unravel that one. Come up with proper arguments!”
The labour argument for the union. pic.twitter.com/DORIP9wYr9
— Marcus Carslaw (@marcuscarslaw1) September 29, 2021
Fellow MP Pete Wishart tweeted: “Just simply awful. No wonder they’re nowhere in Scotland.”
Another Twitter user wrote: “Disgraceful comment on Scottish people not wanting blood to go to English people by @Keir_Starmer.”
Meanwhile one user wrote: “Wtf is this clown @Keir_Starmer talking about? Has anyone in Scotland given blood and demanded it stays in Scotland?
“What an absolute buffoon. Is it any wonder their party is dead up here.”
Another simply called the metaphor “complete nonsense”.
SNP Westminster Deputy Leader Kirsten Oswald MP called the comment “bizarre” on Twitter.
She said: “All this speech does is prove how profoundly out-of-touch Keir Starmer is with what’s actually happening in Scotland.
“The SNP won by a landslide in May’s election with the biggest share of the vote in the history of devolution – while under Anas Sarwar, Labour fell to their worst ever election result in over 100 years.
“Keir Starmer can complain about Brexit all he wants but the fact is that he ordered his Labour colleagues to vote for the Tory Brexit deal, which is now having disastrous consequences across the economy and society.
“Labour are doomed to irrelevance for as long as they continue to side with the Tories in denying democracy in Scotland by joining forces with Boris Johnson in his Trump-like bid to defy the cast-iron democratic mandate delivered by the people of Scotland to hold an independence referendum.”
It came as Starmer attacked Boris Johnson as a “trickster” with no plan for running the country as he insisted Labour could win the next election.
Starmer said he is “totally serious” about defeating an inadequate Government that “can’t keep the fuel flowing” or supermarket shelves stocked.
But after a bruising conference in Brighton which has seen him clash with the Labour left, Sir Keir was heckled by activists over his refusal to support a £15 hourly minimum wage.
In a highly personal speech, the Labour leader described “family and work” as “the two rocks of my life – the two sources of what I believe to be right and good”, highlighting his background as the son of a toolmaker and an NHS nurse who later needed long-term care.
He also contrasted his past as the head of the Crown Prosecution Service with the Prime Minister’s background as a newspaper columnist.
He said: “It’s easy to comfort yourself that your opponents are bad people.
“But I don’t think Boris Johnson is a bad man. I think he is a trivial man. I think he’s a showman with nothing left to show. I think he’s a trickster who has performed his one trick.
“Once he had said the words: ‘Get Brexit Done’, his plan ran out. There is no plan.”
He claimed Britain had been left “isolated and irrelevant” on the world stage under Johnson.
Starmer deployed his own three-word slogan to tell Johnson he must “make Brexit work”.
The Labour leader tried to court both trade unions and business during his speech, arguing they are both essential to secure a well-paid workforce.
He said: “It’s the definition of good business. And good business and good government are partners.
“I have no doubt that the small businesses of this country are the next generation of wealth creators.”