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Gavin calls on Labour leader to retract bogus claims

Gavin Newlands, the MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has written to the new leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, to congratulate him on his recent election victory – and his called on him to retract incorrect accusations that he has recently made and urged him to commit Labour to work with the SNP to oppose the Tory government.

During an interview on the Andrew Marr Show, Jeremy Corbyn bizarrely accused the SNP of privatising the railways in Scotland and Caledonian MacBrayne ferries – despite the fact that the railways were privatised in 1993 by the Major government and that CalMac is owned and operated by the Scottish Government.

In his letter, Gavin Newlands MP urged the new Labour leader not to sleepwalk into the same fate that had befallen Labour leaders at Westminster and Holyrood in the past by adopting well-trodden anti-SNP rhetoric and soundbites – and called on him to work constructively with the SNP group at Westminster to fight the Tory government’s agenda.

Gavin Newlands, the MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:

“Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership campaign shared a lot in common with campaigns run by the SNP – both of which have managed to galvanise an electorate which were completely disillusioned by the political process.

“It was therefore disappointing to see Jeremy make false and misleading statements with regards to the SNP supposedly privatising the rail service and Caledonian MacBrayne.

“Caledonian MacBrayne is a public organisation, owned by the Scottish Government, and the rail service was privatised by the Conservatives in 1993 through the passing of the Railways Act.

“I know that previous leaders of the UK Labour Party have treated Scottish Labour as a ‘branch office’, and have therefore had a limited understanding of the political, social and economic nature of Scotland. However, Mr Corbyn really should be aware that Caledonian MacBrayne is a public organisation owned by the Scottish Government. Either he is being briefed incorrectly by someone from Scottish Labour or he is deliberatively misleading the public.

“The comments that Mr Corbyn made in relation to the SNP privatising the rail service are also completely incorrect and would suggest that he was were deliberately misleading the TV audience.

“He should know as better Mr Corbyn was an MP for 10 years prior to the Tories passing their Railways Act, and the fact that the Scottish Parliament hadn’t even been established yet, clearly shows that the SNP couldn’t have privatised our rail service.

“Mr Corbyn is appearing to try and rewrite history to further his own political goals and appease those loyal to the New Labour brand. I hope that he engages constructively with the letter that I’ve sent him, retract his misleading and false statements and work with the SNP to oppose trident and the Tories austerity programme.”

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