MICHAEL Russell has hit back at Ian Murray's comments saying that Scots have to "participate in UK politics" if they want to change the UK Government.

Russell said that Murray "must be lonely" being Scotland's only Labour MP and that Scotland does not have to give up its "prosperity and future" just to get Murray "a few mates".

The shadow Scotland secretary and MP for Edinburgh South spoke to the Daily Record ahead of the Labour Party conference, due to kick off this Saturday (September 25).

He told the paper that if Scots want to "change the colour of the government at Westminster they have to participate in UK politics".

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Murray added that Labour's side of the deal is to give voters a "policy platform and a party that they feel is a credible alternative government".

He said: “Most Scots who want to vote Yes tell us what they want to get rid of this wretched Tory government. Well, to get rid of the wretched Tories you’ve got to have a Labour alternative with the vision Keir is going to set out.

Adding that this coming conference is "huge for Keir", Murray said that most of the British public don't know Starmer because the news has been "full of Covid for the last 18 months".

Murray, who was the only Labour MP elected at both the 2015 and 2019 UK general elections, made his appeal to Scottish voters as his party lags behind the Tories at Westminster and lost out on MSPs at the Holyrood election earlier this year.

Labour leader Keir Starmer has ruled out making any deal with the SNP in order to get into Downing Street with Murray saying that Scots "could elect 59 SNP MPs and it will not change the political map of the United Kingdom".

The National: Michael Russell, the former SNP MSP and Scottish government minister pictured in his study at home in Argyll...  Photograph by Colin Mearns.3 July 2021..

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SNP president Michael Russell (above) told The National: "I would just say that I'm sure he's lonely as the only Labour MP in Scotland.

"But we don't have to sacrifice our entire country and its prosperity and future just to get him a few mates.

"The reality is that Scotland can never change the UK Government in the way he suggests and even if it did it would only be a temporary respite.

"It is time for independence."

Polling expert Mark McGeoghegan also responded to Murray's comments describing Scots as unengaged in UK politics, saying that Scots vote at the highest rate of any UK nation.

At the most recent General Election, Scotland was the only UK nation to increase voter turnout and had the highest turnout with 68.1% which is also higher than the turnout across the UK as a whole.

McGeoghegan tweeted: "The cheek of Murray telling Scots to 're-engage with UK politics'.

"Scots *are* engaged with UK politics, we vote at higher rates [than] anywhere else in the UK. It's not the Scottish electorate, nor the SNP, refusing to co-operate with most of Scotland's MPs. That would be Labour."

He also said that Scotland could always "get the colour of government we vote for by becoming an independent country".

Airdrie and Shotts SNP MSP Neil Gray also highlighted that even if Labour took all 59 Scottish seats in Westminster, they would not be able to overtake the Tory majority.

Gray, who was also the MP for Airdrie and Shotts before taking a seat in the Scottish Parliament this year, said: "Ian Murray appears frustrated Labour can no longer take support for granted in Scotland. Trouble for Ian & Labour is even if EVERY Scottish MP was Labour they still would not be in gov. They should also ask why & listen to 1/3 of own support who want independence, may be linked…"