Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon has lambasted the Labour Party as “unelectable and utterly useless” during a fierce exchange in the Scottish Parliament.
“If Labour had won every seat in Scotland, it would still have lost to the Tories across the UK. Labour is unelectable and utterly useless. That is the tragedy of UK politics right now,” she told Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale.
According to the Official Report of the Scottish Parliament – the Holyrood-based legislature’s version of Hansard – Sturgeon was responding to Dugdale’s claim that the SNP’s appeal to “vote SNP to keep the Tories out”.
Dugdale told Sturgeon that, “if Jeremy Corbyn were Prime Minister”, there would be “no more housing benefit cuts and no more austerity [and] I will proudly campaign for that over the next six weeks as she campaigns for [Scottish] independence”.
“Jeremy Corbyn is unelectable and will leave Labour carping from the sidelines,” Sturgeon had said. “How do we know that? Because that is what Kezia Dugdale said about Jeremy Corbyn.”
Dugdale did indeed denounce the UK leader in late 2015, saying she was yet to be convinced he was prime minister material.
“There are loads of people [in the Labour party] who are quite prepared to say ‘Och, it doesn’t matter if he doesn’t look like a prime minister, there’s someone who’s authentic and says what they believe’,” she said.
“But I want there to be a Labour government; otherwise I’m wasting my time. I don’t want to spend my whole life just carping from the sidelines.”
Asked about his low opinion poll ratings by an ITV reporter earlier in the day, however, Corbyn was bullish:
“You very helpfully mentioned the opinion polls, and I’m really grateful to you for that,” answered Corbyn, who swept the board in two Labour leadership challenges. “All I can say is, in 2015 almost exactly two years ago I was given 200-1 as an outside chance!”
The veteran socialist then walked away from his podium amidst cheers from his supporters, in what Labour MP Dawn Butler described as a “mic drop” moment.