KEIR Starmer has said Labour need to win a large number of seats in Scotland at the next General Election in order to have “legitimacy” across the whole of the UK.

Speaking to the BBC Radio 4 programme, Leading Scotland Where?, which focuses on the future of Scottish politics following Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation as first minister, the Labour leader said he wanted to have “significant support” in Scotland.

“It matters to the Labour Party,” he said. “I want to be not the prime minister of the UK – but the prime minister for the UK.

“That means a strong showing in Scotland, so we have that legitimacy.”

At the 2019 General Election, the SNP claimed 48 of the 59 seats – six of them taken from Labour who were left with just one in Edinburgh South, which was held by Ian Murray.

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Some Labour sources have claimed the party could win more than 20 seats in Scotland at the next election, but Starmer said the need to win seats was “not translated into a number”.

“It does mean I need and want to be able to show that we have significant support in Scotland, as we do in Wales and will have across England,” he said.

Former SNP leader at Westminster Ian Blackford said the party needed to take the threat from Labour seriously and urged them to remind voters “Labour are wedded to delivering Brexit”.

He said: “Labour is an alternative to the Tories for the rest of the UK and I get that. I can understand why people would look positively at voting for Labour in such a scenario.

“What we need to do is say there’s a better future for Scotland… by becoming an independent country.”