LABOUR’S Ian Murray has blasted Nicola Sturgeon for using the Scottish Parliament to “manage decline” and push for independence.
In an exclusive interview with GB News today, Mr Murray, 45, who is Labour’s only MP in Scotland, ripped into Ms Sturgeon and said although he doesn’t think Scottish Independence will happen anytime soon opponents would have to fight “very, very hard” to prevent it in any new vote.
Speaking to Gloria De Piero, the Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland also opened up about losing his father when he was aged just nine.
And he recalled the bizarre moment he almost blew his chance of a Shadow Cabinet job – by mistakenly putting the phone down on then Labour-leader Harriet Harman when she’d called to offer him the post.
Asked by Ms Piero about the chances of Scotland ever securing independence during his lifetime he said: “I absolutely don’t think I will live to see it, because it just doesn’t work. They just cannot find a viable way of promoting a proposition that works.
And that’s not to say they might not win it eventually. Nicola Sturgeon has said that if they lose a second one, they’ll have a third. And all this stuff about mandates, about Brexit, about the Tories. All of the excuses that they give for another referendum are all the excuses that were given the day after the last one.
“So, we’re just finding an excuse and a trigger to have one. And as all that’s happening, and I see it in my own constituency day in, day out is the NHS is getting worse, educational attainment gap’s widening, transport is dreadful, the economy is slipping behind the rest of the UK, the number of higher rate taxpayers is diminishing, the demographics are much older and therefore all the problems that comes with that.
“And none of that’s being dealt with. It’s just all Westminster’s fault: ‘so vote for independence’. And I just think at some point, something will break, and Scottish voters will go, ‘We can’t go on like this’. And maybe that’ll take another referendum, you know, I don’t want one, we shouldn’t have one, if we end up having one, we’ll fight very, very hard to stay in the United Kingdom. But something’s going to have to break to get out of this. Otherwise, we’re going to stay on this constitutional merry go round and things are just going to get worse. This Scottish Government essentially uses the Scottish Parliament to manage decline.”
Mr Murray, who serves in Edinburgh South, also opened up to Ms Piero about losing his dad, Jim, when he was just nine years old.
Recalling the night he died, Mr Murray said: “We were playing snooker at home, mum was out at the bingo, and he was in his pyjamas. His bottoms fell down and I was only nine so I started laughing, my brother was a little bit embarrassed and a bit concerned. But, you know, he also just thought it was him messing around. Then he never missed a ball for about 10 minutes, he just potted everything and we were going: ‘This is a bit strange’. Then 10 minutes later, he was on the floor. He had a cerebral hemorrhage. Mum was called and rushed home. Eventually the ambulance came. Then at four o’clock in the morning mum returned and said, ‘Dad’s not coming home’. The following morning, I woke up, went into the lounge, and the whole family were sitting there, and that’s when it really sunk in.
“The lesson from it was that he had been ill for some time and didn’t tell anyone and he should have really got some advice. Whether or not, in the mid-80s, he would have been able to get the medical attention required to sort something like that, I don’t know, because obviously it’s moved on quite a bit. But, you know, he was having blackouts at work and wasn’t telling anyone, he was feeling a bit depressed, which is all the great symptoms of having something wrong with your brain. My dad was 39 when he died. I’m six years older than that now, so I reflect on it a lot. And being a father now as well, I reflect on it a lot. But yeah, I mean it was utterly traumatic, and my poor mum had to deal with the consequences of it. She went into 6th gear and brought up two boys on her own.”
Mr Murray said he has hardly memories of his dad and that his mother, Lena, never talks about her husband’s death.
“She’s never, ever spoken about it,” he continued. “Apart from her regret that she didn’t let us boys go to
the funeral, which was a choice she made at the time, and I think she regrets that.”
Mr Murray was the only Scottish Labour MP to keep their seat in 2015 meaning even though he’d been tipped by many to one day become Shadow Scottish Secretary he suddenly became the automatic choice.
However, as he told GB News, things didn’t run smoothly.
He explained: “Because I’d been the only person to win, my phone for 24 hours was just completely red hot. And there was this woman called Harriet from the BBC Scotland who was phoning me up constantly to say, ‘Could you do drive time? Could you do the morning show? Could you do Good Morning Scotland?’ and ‘What about
Sunday Shows?’. Obviously because the election was on the Thursday, elected overnight on the Thursday night into Friday. And I just said, ‘Look. It’s been a really tough election. I’ve done all the media I really want to do. I have nothing else to say and until things settle down, I’m not quite sure I want to do anymore’, and she kept ringing and ringing. And then my phone rang again, and I just picked it up, I was in my flat at home, the flat I still live in, and I just said, ‘Ian Murray speaking’. And I just heard this, ‘It’s Harriet here’, and I didn’t hear anything else, the voice on the other side of the phone said, ‘I’d like you to join the Shadow cabinet’, and I thought I heard, ‘Are you joining the Shadow Cabinet?’. I went, ‘Look Harriet, will you stop bothering me? It’s been a long week. You know, I am the only one that’s left. We’re all in a bit of shock here, and I’m sick of journalists phoning me and asking me if I’m joining the Shadow Cabinet. So, the answer is no comment’, and I put the phone down. And actually, the phone rang again, and it was Harriet Harman as the acting leader of the Labour Party offered me a place in the Shadow Cabinet.”
Laughing, he added: “So, I apologised profusely, and she promised never to mention it. Oh and I also promised I would never tell the story….”