ANAS Sarwar has admitted that Brexit has been an “economic disaster” for the UK – but said he won’t back another referendum on rejoining the EU.
UK Labour leader Keir Starmer has ruled out rejoining the bloc if he becomes prime minister.
Appearing on BBC Scotland’s Sunday Show, Sarwar was asked by host Martin Geisler whether he agreed that Brexit had been largely responsible for the UK’s economic decline and lower standing on the world stage.
Sarwar replied: “Yes, and it’s a result of an economically illiterate and morally bankrupt Conservative Party that’s why the answer to that is to get rid of this Conservative government.
“I would be inconsistent in my view if I said we shouldn’t reopen the Yes/No question but we should reopen the Leave and Remain question.
“I think that politics of entrenching people into camps, dividing them into sides, has led us into the wrong way across the UK.”
Sarwar said accused the Scottish and UK government of “wrecking” the economy and said Labour’s answer would be to change the UK’s relationship with the EU.
“We would not have a relationship with the European Union that is picking deliberate fights,” he said.
Asked if the new relationship would include frictionless trade, Sarwar said: “We’ve got to fix the Northern Ireland protocol, that would be one example. We’ve got to have better trade with the European Union, being another example.
“Where it suits us in our national interest around flexible migration we should be looking around those opportunities.”
Sarwar was also asked about the UK party “nicking” Dominic Cummings’ Brexit slogan “take back control”.
“What [Starmer] is talking about is taking back control is further devolution and greater devolution,” Sarwar said.
“The really important point is we would fundamentally change our approach to the European Union.”
The Scottish Labour leader denied that the UK party had two conflicting voter bases to win, those in Scotland and those in the north of England.
The party had seen internal divisions over Scotland’s gender reform legislation, with Starmer saying he had concerns over lowering the age a person in Scotland can change their gender from 18 to 16.
Scottish Labour MSP Monica Lennon hit out at Starmer saying she was “very disappointed” with him.